I can’t complain when it comes to the weather in San Diego. The weather is nearly perfect with mild temps and an abundance of sunshine year-round, but locals here know that we have a marine layer that can hover during spring to early summer where we have “May grey” and “June gloom”. As we depart from heavy rainy weather into a beautiful bright green springtime, mixed in with some grey days, I feel the need for some brightness when we’re still sporting hoodie sweatshirts. It also seems like several people close to me could use some much-needed cheer, so bring on the lemon bars.
I’ve taken a recipe that I used years ago from Food Faith Fitness, which is for paleo lemon bars, but adjusted it a bit, and it’s still an easy all-natural recipe with simple ingredients. Yes, this is a delicious dessert recipe, there are still some health benefits with fresh lemons, coconut oil, and only natural sugar in honey.
MCT’s (Medium-Chain Triglycerides):
Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of saturated fat that may increase the number of calories your body burns. MCTs in coconut oil also provide a quick source of energy by going straight to your liver to become a rapid source of energy similar to the way carbs supply energy in your body. The lauric acid in coconut oil may have antimicrobial properties against a variety of harmful microorganisms. I used Nutiva organic virgin coconut oil for this recipe. It’s cold-pressed, & unrefined, which means the coconut meat used is never deodorized, bleached, or refined.
Heart Health, Kidney Stone Prevention & More:
Aside from being a bright and beautiful fruit tree to grow in our nearly perfect climate, lemons are full of health benefits. For starters, lemons are loaded with vitamin C, where one lemon provides about 31 mg of vitamin C, which is 51% of the reference daily intake (RDI), and fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C benefit your heart health, and may reduce heart disease. Plant compounds such as hesperidin and diosmin are found in lemons and have been found to lower cholesterol and increase circulation. Lemon juice is considered alkaline and helps balance the pH levels in our body. The citric acid may help prevent kidney stone formation also.
There are many more advantages to these health conscious ingredients, but lemons can enhance our mood too. According to research, lemon scent can improve cognitive function and relieve stress. I hope this bright yellow citrus dessert brings cheer to your kitchen!
For The Crust:
1/2 Cup Honey
1 Cup Coconut Oil at room temperature - it should be the consistency of soft butter
1 pinch salt
2 Cups All-Purpose Baking Flour sifted (95g) (I used Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free)
For The Lemon Topping:
6 large Eggs
1 Cup Honey
2 Tbls Lemon zest about 1 large lemon
2 Tbls Coconut flour sifted
1 Cup Fresh* Lemon juice about 5 large lemons
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and generously rub an 8x8 inch pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together the honey, coconut oil and pinch of salt until creamy and well combined. Stir in the coconut flour until a dough forms.
Press the dough evenly into the prepared pan and bake until just lightly golden brown, about 8 minutes. ** Once cooked, let cool for 30 minutes.
Lower the temperature of your oven to 325 degrees and lower the oven rack to the 2nd from the bottom position.
Once the crust has cooled, gently whisk together the eggs, honey and lemon zest in a large bowl. Do NOT use an electric mixer here or you will over-beat the eggs and the topping with crack once baked. Use a hand whisk.
In a separate, medium bowl, whisk the coconut flour into the lemon juice, 1 tsp at a time, until well mixed. Make sure you continually whisk as you add the flour so that it doesn't clump up.
Pour the lemon juice mixture into the egg mixture, whisking while you pour, until evenly combined.
Pour the topping over top of the cooled crust and bake until it is just set, and the very center is just slightly jiggly, about 21-23 minutes. Let cool completely at room temperature. Then, cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, best over-night. You need to let the crust completely cool, or it will be soft.
Using a sharp knife to cut through the crust & divide the bars into squares, garnish with mint, fresh lemon slice, or berries & enjoy!