If there's one flavour I can't get enough of during spring and summer, it's lemon. If it's got lemon in, I'll have it! And this light lemon bars recipe means I can indulge in my favourite zesty flavour without taking on too many calories. Yay!
To make these skinny lemon bars on the healthy side, I cut down on the fat and sugar in the crust and the filling, and replaced the all-purpose flour and processed powdered sugar with whole wheat flour and natural brown sugar. The result is low calorie lemon bars which come in at just 175 calories each - not too shabby! They're not as sweet as their full-fat, full-sugar counter parts, but that's the whole point, right?
Yes, I suppose I could have kept these skinny homemade lemon squares sweet by using an artificial sweetener, but I prefer using real, natural ingredients as much as possible. A little bit of what we like does us good, right? So yes, although these easy lemon bars have butter and sugar in them, the quantities are kept to an absolute minimum. And anyway, the fragrant, zesty punch of the lemon beats sickly sweet sugar every time in my books!
I made these bars late on Monday night last week. I guess I didn't serve enough food for dinner because five minutes after I pulled them out the oven, My Official Treat Taster and I grabbed forks and started digging in. Although these skinny lemon bars are definitely at their best when they've been left to chill in the fridge overnight, they weren't too shabby warm! If we'd paired them with some vanilla ice cream (or vanilla frozen yoghurt, since this is supposed to be a healthy recipe) I would have been in heaven!
What flavour do you get obsessed with during summer?
Skinny Lemon Bars
for the crust
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter cold and cubed
- 2 tablespoons cold water
for the filling
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs beaten
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line a 9"x9" baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a medium-size bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour and brown sugar.
- Rub in the cold butter with your fingertips until you've got a texture like breadcrumbs.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of cold water and work the mixture with your hands until it forms a dough. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until you get a proper dough.
- Roll out the dough until you've got a 9"x9" square. Place it in the lined baking dish and bake for 15 minutes, until the top just starts to turn golden.
- Meanwhile, beat the white sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice together for about 1 minute, until everything is combined.
- Pour the lemon mixture on top of the baked crust and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, until solid and just beginning to brown.
- Leave to cool to room temperature for at least one hour in the baking tray before slicing into 9 squares and serving or storing inside a sealed container in the fridge.