Chef Mary’s Light Lemon Bars

Chef Mary Ross from SelectHealth shared a recipe for her Light Lemon Bars.  They have a buttery shortbread crust and are so luscious and lemony your family will never know they half 1/2 the fat and 1/3 less sugar than regular lemon squares.  And if you're allergic to gluten... no worries!  This recipe easily adapts to a gluten-free diet.

Yield: 24 lemon squares
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

Shortbread Crust
heavy duty non-stick aluminum foil
non-aerosol cooking or baking spray with flour
1½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour OR 1½ cups Bob`s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
½ cup raw or granulated sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, room temperature
½ tsp. real vanilla - optional
pinch salt - optional

Filling
1½ cups natural cane sugar (sugar in the raw) or granulated white sugar
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch (gluten-free)
6 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, strained of seeds and pulp (3 to 4 large lemons)
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
½ tsp. real lemon extract - optional flavor boost
¼ cup powdered sugar

1. Make a sling for a 9 x 13 x 1½ to 2-inch baking pan by cutting a 20-inch sheet of non-stick foil. Spray pan lightly with cooking or baking spray and lay the foil lengthwise and centered across the pan with equal amounts of extra foil at both the 9-inch and 13-inch sides of the pan. Carefully smooth and push the foil into the corners, up the sides, and across the bottom of the pan. There should be approximately 3-inches of foil hanging off the 13-inch ends of the pan, creating a sling. (See picture above.)

2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine regular or gluten-free flour, ½ cup sugar, and salt in bowl or food processor. Add butter and vanilla and process or use a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Do not over mix.)

3. Sprinkle crumbs into prepared pan and gently press evenly onto bottom. Bake in middle of oven until lightly browned, 20 to 22 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. (Shortbread made with gluten-free flour will brown less that the shortbread made with all-purpose wheat flour.)

4. Prepare filling while shortbread is baking. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch into sugar until combined. In a medium bowl, beat eggs until combined. Gently whisk sugar/starch mixture, lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract into eggs until blended. Pour filling over hot shortbread. Bake until mixture is set, 20 to 22 minutes.

5. Set pan on a rack, cool to room temperature, 1½ to 2 hours, then cover and chill at least 2 hours before cutting. Remove by lifting long ends of foil sling from pan to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife cleaned in hot water and dried often, cut in 24 pieces. Before serving, sprinkle squares with powdered.
Cook`s Note: Cookies keep, covered and chilled, 3 days.

Nutrition Information: 1 at 130 Calories; 5g Fat; 25g Carbohydrate; 0g Fiber; 2g Protein; 57mg Cholesterol;
50mg Sodium
Gluten-Free Nutrition Information: 1 at 150 Calories; 5g Fat; 2g Carbohydrate; 0g Fiber; 2g Protein; 57mg Cholesterol; 50mg Sodium
Traditional Recipe: 1 at 275 Calories; 15g Fat; 40g Carbohydrate; 0g Fiber; 2g Protein; 72mg Cholesterol;
117mg Sodium

For more great recipes, visit: selecthealth.org.

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