Paleo Lemon Bars

By: Cassy Joy
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Happy belated Mother’s Day!

Before I start talking Paleo Lemon Bars, I must talk Momma Garcia.

Every Mother has her own method. Sure when you’re the Mother of 3 teenage girls, the madness can make you wonder if you had the method all wrong. I don’t know how my Mother pulled through that stage, but she did it with a smile on her face and a determination that all could be healed with a big family dinner.

Her experience was that after the aliens bring your babies back from their high school abduction, you’ll realize that all the patience, love, and hope you poured into that (sometimes unresponsive) soul has paid off.

She now has three degreed daughters ready to take on the world. My youngest sister, Samantha, graduated from Texas A&M University this past weekend with honors. She heads to Seattle this fall for a (full ride) graduate school. Momma's proud.

Our family couldn’t be any stronger and we have her to thank. All those who’ve met Katy Garcia know immediately how fiercely she loves and protects her family.

A few of Katy’s wisdom nuggets:

  • Trust your gut.
  • Marriage can wait.
  • Recycle.
  • College is non-negotiable.
  • Love all, but only trust a few.
  • If you’re hot, take your pants off. (AC was a luxury in her childhood)
  • Never show up empty-handed.
  • Leave a place cleaner than you found it.
  • Never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink.

She is my best friend, confidant, mentor, and boozy pedicure partner in crime. I can’t imagine where I’d be without her insistence on strength through compassion without ever sacrificing moral character. I am blessed.

To all you Mothers with your own unrelenting love, may God continue to bless you with both immediate and delayed gratification that the lives you’ve touched are better beyond measure.

Okay, now onto dessert. I was challenged to make a Paleo Lemon Bar by my CrossFit Coach, Emily. I happily accepted and timed it so that my lemon bar-loving Mamma could enjoy some on her special day.

These bars are SPOT ON. I challenge you to a blind taste test between these and a non-paleo cousin …you won’t be able to tell the difference. In fact, I bet you like mine better.

DSC_0880The paleo shortbread crust is perfectly crunchy and the lemony custard filling is perfectly sweet and tart. I am in love.

Note that this recipe is easily halved. I made a large batch in a 9×13” glass dish because (honestly) I don’t own a smaller one.

Enjoy & if you forgot yesterday, call your Mom.

Love,

Cassandra

Next, ogle this picture so you know what you’ll soon enjoy. I recommend you put oranges and champagne on your shopping list too. Mimosas make for a good lemon bar brunch pairing. Just saying.

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Preheat oven to 350 F. Spoon 2 cups of sifted coconut flour into a large bowl. Add ½ tsp kosher salt and thoroughly stir together with a fork or whisk. Find your favorite honey and measure out ½ cup. Pour it into the flour. Using a fork, stir the honey into the flour until it’s evenly distributed and crumbly.

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Measure out 16 Tbl (or one cup) of room-temperature coconut oil. Add them to the flour mixture. Using your fork or a pastry blender, mix the coconut oil into the flour until it’s even and forms a dough-like texture. Line a 9×13 glass baking dish with parchment paper. Evenly pat the coconut flour dough into the bottom of the dish.

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Bake at 350 for ~17 minutes or until it begins to brown. (Note: follow your nose here … you will be able to smell the crust when it’s done.)

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Now it’s lemon time! Zest 3-4 lemons, or until you have 2 Tbl zest. Juice about 12 lemons, or until you have 1.5 cups lemon juice. (Note: please use fresh juice here! The bottled stuff is not the same.) Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Add 1.5 cups honey. Whisk it together until the honey is completely dissolved. Working quickly, add 8 whole eggs. Whisk together until totally dissolved. (Note: feel free to use a hand mixer here.) Whisk in the lemon zest.

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Pour the filling into the (now cooled) crust.

Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes. (Note: you will know it’s done when it doesn’t jiggle when you shake it.)

DSC_0641Let it cool on the counter for 30 minutes than the refrigerator for 3 hours or over night. Don't fret if it starts to crack as it cools. No big deal.

Pull the parchment paper from the baking dish (don’t you love baking with parchment paper? It makes life so much easier), cut into squares and enjoy chilled.

I cut these into 3” squares for the photos but cut each of THOSE 3” squares into 4 smaller squares for easier snacking.

Enjoy!

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Print

Paleo Lemon Bars

These bars are full of bright flavors, with the perfect balance of tart and sweet!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 15 servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

Crust

  • 2 cups Sifted Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 16 tablespoons Room Temperature Virgin Coconut Oil {= 1 cup}

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cup Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 1/2 cup Honey
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Zest
  • 8 Eggs

Instructions

Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the coconut flour with salt.
  4. Thoroughly stir in the honey until it’s evenly mixed and crumbly.
  5. Add the room-temperature coconut oil and stir until it’s evenly combined.
  6. Pat the dough down into the bottom of the baking dish for an even thickness.
  7. Bake at 350 for approximately 17 minutes or until it starts to brown.
  8. {Note: follow your nose. You will be able to smell the crust when it’s close to finished.}
  9. Remove from the oven and let cool on the counter while you prepare the filling.

FILLING:

  1. Dissolve the honey into the lemon juice.
  2. Working quickly, whisk in the eggs.
  3. Whisk in the lemon zest.
  4. Pour the filling into the now cooled crust.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes or until it’s stiffened.
  6. {Note: you will know it’s finished when it stops jiggling if you shake the dish.}
  7. Let it cool on the counter for 30 minutes than the refrigerator for 3 hours or over night.
  8. Cut into squares and serve chilled.
  9. Enjoy!
Comments

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  1. Chickachef says:

    Absolutely love lemon bars! Thank you. What a beautiful story about your Momma. I’m sure she counts her blessings daily for her three daughters.

  2. Ciarra says:

    Lemon bars have to be my favorite Paleo dessert and I am LOVING your recipe!!! I always feel like nut-crusts make it too rich in light of how many eggs have to be used. Cannot wait to try yours out!!

    1. fedandfit says:

      Thanks so much Ciarra! I agree. I’d love to know what you think after you give the recipe a try!

  3. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see this recipe! I will absolutely try them!! YUMMMMM…
    PS: I know my recipe will come out good, because I have a certain happy pup whose tail will wag first too 😉

    1. fedandfit says:

      Haha perfect!! I think swishy puppy tails are essential to food made with love 🙂

  4. Sunshine says:

    Success!! I do not bake, let alone bake items that have been modified to Paleo – and while mine were not as pretty they turned out well. I halved the recipe and used a 9×9 square dish. Thanks for the great recipe!! (ps…I was a little nervous because the mixed honey and lemon juice didn’t smell that great, but everything tastes just fine.)

    1. fedandfit says:

      I’m so glad they came out well!! Thanks for trying my recipe and giving feedback. 🙂

  5. Stacy says:

    Delicious! I made these by halving the recipe and baking in an 11 x 7.5 glass dish for 22 minutes. I tried them hot from the oven and wow… I am so pleased! I too was a little put off by the lemon/honey mixture but like Sunshine said, tastes great. I would not know that these were not made with sugar if I hadn’t made them myself. Thank you!

    1. fedandfit says:

      I’m so glad they turned out well! Thank you for posting your baking time and dish size! That info really helps a lot for when others have questions. It’s amazing how much sweetness can come from just honey and lemon. 🙂

  6. Julie says:

    Pretty tasty and a nice treat. I halved the recipe and used an 8″ square baking pan. I figured the recipe made 12 servings and then I figured out the calories using an online calculator. I came up with 213 calories per serving. Not too bad.

  7. Tara says:

    These are amazing! In the past 8 days, I have made 2 of your recipes, and I am now begging you to keep this sweet blog going forever! My diet was fairly clean before switching to an 80/20 paleo lifestyle, but I always struggled with my darn sweet tooth and this recipe has now saved my waistline!

    1. fedandfit says:

      Tara, your comment made my day! I’m so glad you liked the bars and that you’ve found my site.

  8. I made this for a family party and it was a total hit! I love lemon flavored anything and those in my family with celiac disease really enjoyed this option!

    1. fedandfit says:

      I’m so glad everyone liked it! I’m a lemon-flavored-anything fan too 😉

  9. Dana says:

    Amazing flavor!!! But, I followed your directions to a T and while my lemon mix was baking the crust started floating and now I have very delicious lemony cake(?). Any ideas what I did wrong?

    1. fedandfit says:

      Hi Dana. That’s so bizarre! I have no idea why the crust flaked and mixed with the filling. I’ve worked the recipe a number of times and haven’t experienced that. It’s possible that the crust wasn’t cooked enough (cooking time can vary depending on your environment), causing it to blend with the filling. Either way, I’m so glad you liked the flavor 🙂

  10. michele arias says:

    Hi Cassandra! Just wanted to let you know I picked yours out of a number of paleo lemon bar recipes and I’m so glad I did. Made these yesterday for non-paleo eating coworkers and the rest went to my gym buddies and they all really enjoyed them! And I loved them. I used to work in a pastry shop where we made these (of course fully sugared and so not paleo) and this version is definitely up to par. Crust baked beautifully, custard set really well,and I didn’t get a single crack. I’m wondering if you think this would hold up just as well with if I cut back on the coconut oil and the honey in the custard? I know this isn’t a snack food but I wouldn’t mind feeling a tad less guilty when I can’t stop at just one :]

    1. fedandfit says:

      Hi Michele! Thank you so much for your note. What a compliment! Aside from the countless hours spent working on my recipes, I don’t have any technical pastry training. So your feedback means a lot! I’m so glad your coworkers and gym friends all liked them. I keep all non-Paleo eaters in mind when I develop my recipes — it’s my secret weapon for helping others eat healthier. I’m think you could probably cut back on the honey in the custard, but I’m not sure about the coconut oil. If you give the modifications a try, I’d love to know how they come out!

  11. Jordi Sheard says:

    These are divine! Even better with a naughty little vanilla ice cream. Are they suitable to freeze?

    1. fedandfit says:

      Hi Jordi! I haven’t tried freezing them {they disappear too quickly} but I can imagine they’ll be okay. Vanilla ice cream and these lemon bars sound like a match made in heaven. So glad you liked them!

    2. Jordi Sheard says:

      They froze and defrosted perfectly!

    3. fedandfit says:

      Ah that’s great! Thanks for the feedback!

  12. Reefersleep says:

    I tried following this recipe today, but I must say that I turned out a bit too sour for my taste, which I really did not expect, considering the amount of honey! I think I need to try it with something on the side, like cream with a bit of vanilla or maybe just some vanilla icecream.

  13. Margaret says:

    These were great!! I halved the recipe, but wanted to thank you for making a paleo dessert recipe that will actually feed a crowd. I used half Meyer lemon juice and half regular lemon juice, so I was able to reduce the honey in the filling a bit. We loved how tart they are. The crust is great, I agree that nut flour is really not necessary here,

  14. Marta says:

    Hi! Could you please write how much flour and honey in gramms or Tbls did you use here?
    I found here: https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/convert/measurements.html that 1 cup is 225 gramms and 16 Tbls. Is this what you used here?
    I want to make this cake for my family and would really like it to be perfect for the first time! Many thanks!

  15. Tracy says:

    Hi! Delicious recipe! I’m so happy that it doesn’t have nut flour!

    I just made these and had the same experience as another commenter–the crust blended with the filling during the second baking. I did not let the crust cool completely before adding the filling and putting it back in the oven… it wasn’t hot but still warm. Maybe this is the cause of the cake effect?

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!!!

  16. Joanna says:

    Hi, I was wondering if this crust can be used for any other bars recipe. I have a recipe for a pecan pie bars where crust is made with regular flour. I was looking to substitute the crust for a gluten free version. Please let me know if this crust will work. Thank you.