The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars

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These are definitely The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars with a crumbly almond flour shortbread topped with a silky smooth lemon filling. They’re also gluten free and good with or without a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The filling for these bars is extra smooth thanks to a simple step of cooking the filling before adding it to the par baked crust. This way the filling sets up more evenly and creates the smoothest filling you’ve ever had!

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

I’ve been on a bit of a roll recreating favorite recipes from my childhood lately. We’re kicking it all off with these lemon bars because anyone I’ve ever known has a fond memory of lemon bars. They were always a dessert I looked forward too, even to the point I would beg for them.

I’m not sure if my mom ever made them from scratch, (I really should ask her). But I do know we would occasionally get the packaged mix for lemon bars. It was one of the only things I can ever remember her making from a package. But I sure loved them!

As I grew up, I started cooking with an all consuming passion. And of course lemon bars made from scratch were at the top of my list to figure out. If you want the ultimate recipe for anything, just ask Cook’s Illustrated, because they really know what they’re doing.

And for a number of years, the recipe from Cooks was my go-to, since it’s nothing short of amazing. But once we changed our diet, lemon bars were out with the crazy amounts of white flour and sugar. However who wants to live without lemon bars, they’re just too good!?!

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

So I decided it was high time to figure out how to make lemon bars without processed ingredients. Of  course I was worried about a number of potential problems with ‘healthifying’ lemon bars. But I was worried for nothing. In the end, these are the best lemon bars I’ve ever had. And I mean that as the sweeping statement it is! This recipe is even better than the one I used to make with processed ingredients.

Speaking of processed ingredients, I did dust some of these with powered sugar. And here’s the thing, it looks good, but it’s completely unnecessary in terms of flavor. Lemon bars are always dusted with powdered sugar, and my mind has come to expect it. But in the end I didn’t dust the rest of the batch, or the batch to follow. They just don’t need it unless you’re looking for visual effect.

Now let’s make The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars step by step!

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

For the crust I kept it very close to a normal shortbread crust. I kept it gluten free with almond flour. And I found adding an egg to the crust makes the perfect texture. It also prevents the crust from becoming soggy as well.

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

Once the crust is mixed together…

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

… you pat it into a pan with a nice sized rim up the edges to hold the lemon filling.

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

And here’s where things get a bit fussy, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Even though this is an easy recipe, it does require a couple more steps. But trust me it’s more than worth it.

I adapted the filling from Cook’s Illustrated, and used their method to cook it. Which of course is why it’s a little more involved. However I’ve come to trust their process for good reason, the end result is always the best.

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

(Still gorgeous without powdered sugar!)

First up you whisk together the filling, which is essentially a lemon curd. It’s made in a double boiler until it starts to thicken and reaches the right temperature. Then the filling is strained through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of the lemon zest.

This is essential because you want a super smooth lemon bar. Then the sieved hot filling is poured into the hot crust, and baked for just a few minutes.

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

The reason the extra step is worth it, is because the filling cooks more evenly in the oven. When I’ve tried lemon bar recipes where the filling isn’t cooked on the stove top, they never turn out as well.

If filling is just mixed and poured onto the crust, it takes much longer to bake which presents 2 problems. First up the edges get overcooked before the center is ready. And secondly the crust becomes soggy with the liquid filling just poured right on.

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

So by pre-cooking both the crust and the filling, when you put the 2 together, they bake into perfection in just minutes. The crust never gets soggy, and the filling is silky smooth without any hint of over-baked egginess around the edges.

I really hope you enjoy these lemon bars! If you do get a chance to make these, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below. And for even more healthier dessert recipes, head on over to the recipe index.

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The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars | Get Inspired Everyday!

The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars


Description

These are definitely The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars with a crumbly almond flour shortbread topped with a silky smooth lemon filling. They’re also gluten free and good with or without a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The filling for these bars is extra smooth thanks to a simple step of cooking the filling before adding it to the par baked crust. This way the filling sets up more evenly and creates the smoothest filling you’ve ever had!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Shortbread Crust:

1 1/2 cups fine almond flour

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1/2 Teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup melted ghee, butter, or coconut oil

1 egg

Lemon Filling:

6 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs

1/2 cup Grade A amber maple syrup

1/4 cup lemon zest, grated with a microplane grater, from 4-5 lemons

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup ghee, or butter

Optional: powdered sugar for topping


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Mix together all the ingredients for the shortbread crust until a thick dough forms. Pat the dough evenly into an 8″x8″ baking pan, pressing the dough up the sides about 1″.

Prick the bottom of the crust a few times with a fork to prevent the crust from bubbling up. Par bake the crust, which means to cook until part way done, and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking whisk together all the ingredients for the filling. Then cook the filling in a double boiler until a thermometer reads 170ºF, and the filling starts to thicken. To create a double boiler choose a large pot and fill part way with water.

Bring this to a boil, then maintain a simmer. Then whisk together the filling in a smaller pot placed inside of the bigger pot of simmering water. This creates a double boiler, and it’s only necessary to make sure the filling cooks evenly without curdling the eggs.

Once the filling is up to temperature, remove it from the heat source and pour the filling through a fine mesh sieve to remove any bits of egg and lemon zest. Then pour the hot filling into the hot crust, and bake until the filling is just set, but still jiggly in the middle, about 10 minutes.

Cool the lemon bars completely before slicing. For the best cleanest looking slices, refrigerate the lemon bars for 2-3 hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers for 2-3 days.

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Paleo Lemon Bars, Gluten Free Lemon Bars, Best Paleo Lemon Bars, Almond Flour Lemon Bars, Healthy Lemon Bars

38 thoughts on “The Ultimate Paleo Lemon Bars”

  1. These are great! If I made them again I would add some vanilla and salt to the custard but that’s more about my personal taste because these are delicious.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you enjoyed these, and I definitely am going to try vanilla next time I make a batch! It’s not at all traditional in lemon bars, but I’m partial to vanilla in anything baked too, so I think this could be a new thing for me!

      Reply

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