Friends, let me tell you, whether you are on a Paleo diet or not, you must make these lemon bars! They are so freaking good. They were a pain in my butt to get right. But once I figured out the magic recipe, they turned perfectly!
Also, on a quick side note – while I was spending my afternoon baking these bad boys, I binged watch Fuller House. It is so bad it is good. It is just like the Full House of old, but even cheesier! Maybe it’s because I am older so it seems cheesier, but that is what makes it so great. So you need to go out and watch this immediately! Also, Jodie Sweetin needs her own show. The end.
Okay, back to the lemon bars.
I did a lot of research for this recipe; looking up other Paleo lemon bar recipes, as well as your typical (sugar-, gluten-, dairy-filled) lemon bar recipe to find the perfect combination of lemon topping to crispy crust.
The crust was actually the easiest part for me to master. I knew I wanted it to be light and flaky, so I made something that was a mix between a shortbread and a pie crust. I mixed together almond and coconut flours with some coconut sugar, egg, and fat. The mixture of the two flours made a big difference. I tried it the second time with only almond flour and it turned out terribly.
The lemon topping is what gave me so much trouble. In your typical lemon bar recipe, the lemon topping is baked on the crust. I tried that method twice with very bad results (as you may or may not have seen on Snapchat). I finally found a recipe that used a different technique: making a lemon curd and pouring it on top. No baking needed! Which is exactly the solution I was looking for.
So I went about making a Paleo lemon curd, which was a lot easier than I anticipated. I replaced the sugar with honey and the butter with ghee/coconut oil. Literally a 1 to 1 substitution. Soooo easy. But I knew that the lemon curd wasn’t going to set up like I wanted since it would be a bit too runny. To solve that problem, I turned to my old friend the chia seeds!
Chia seeds to the rescue!
I only used a tablespoon of them, but it was just enough to soak up some of the moisture and help the lemon curd firm up a bit.
So I poured the crazy looking lemon curd over the baked crust and set it in the refrigerator to let the chia seeds work their magic.
I found that the lemon topping was firm enough to cut through after about 2 hours, but I left it in a bit longer just to make sure. I actually didn’t take these out of the fridge until the next day.
All I can tell you is that they were totally worth the wait. They were so good you would never know that they didn’t have any sugar, flour, or butter in them at all. I took them to my Small Group on Sunday night and all the girls asked for the recipe. None of them realized these were Paleo until I told them so.
If that isn’t the mark of a successful Paleo baked good, I don’t know what is!
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, chilled
- 2 tbsp ghee
- Lemon Filling:
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a square baking tin with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of your food processor (or a small bowl), mix together flours, sugar, and salt. Mix in vanilla and egg. Add in the coconut oil and ghee and process until the mixture forms a coarse, gravel like texture that sticks together when pressed.
- Dump the mixture into the baking tin. Firmly press down on the dough until it even covers the bottom of the tin in one compact layer. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until it is slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, place a small sauce pan over low heat. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, eggs, and egg yolks until completely combined. Add in ghee and coconut oil and mix until they are melted. Turn heat up to medium and continue whisking until small bubbles start to form on the top and the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Remove mixture from the heat but continue to whisk for another minute or so. Pour through a strainer into a bowl to remove any lumps. Mix in the chia seeds then pour over the crust. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- To serve, remove from the tin by lifting up on the parchment paper, then cut into 9 or 16 squares, depending on how many you want.