I’ve been dying to try a lemon bar recipe that Maya can have. It’s pretty easy finding gluten free, but dairy and egg free are a little harder!
And then I found Minimalist Baker a few months ago on Instagram!
The minute I saw her Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars, I knew I wanted to try them!
I finally made the time yesterday for Easter, and they were so good!
I followed her recipe pretty much, with only a few exceptions, which I’ll note.
- 1 cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 pitted dates (original recipe called for 2 Tbsp coconut sugar, which I thought I had but didn’t.)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 4 Tbsp coconut oil (melted) (originally recipe said 4-5, but I went with the lesser due to the dates)
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup coconut cream (the hardened portion at the top of full-fat coconut milk-I used the coconut cream from Trader Joe’s which is mostly cream)
- 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp organic powdered sugar (optional // for topping I didn’t use this)
Lemon Curd Topping
I had about 1/3 cup of coconut cream leftover in my can, so I decided to make a modified version of Minimalist Baker‘s Vegan Lemon Curd. The recipe called for a lot of the same ingredients I already had out, so it seemed like a no brainer. AND…lemon curd on top of lemon bars? YES, PLEASE!! . Here’s how I modified to recipe, and the amount was perfect for a thin layer on top which I added right before serving.
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp arrowroot starch
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
Add raw cashews to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let rest for 1 hour (uncovered). Then drain thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (or tin foil).
Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and dates to a high speed blender and mix on high until a fine meal is achieved.
Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add maple syrup and melted coconut oil, and add more oil if it’s too dry. Stir with a spoon to combine until a loose dough is formed.
I accidentally did ALL this at the same time. It didn’t blend as well, because the moisture made it clumpy… SO, if you see chunks of almonds in my crust that’s why!
Transfer mixture to lined 8×8 pan and spread evenly. I used my fingers to press the mixture down until it was evenly compacted.
Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 F and bake for 5 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven to cool slightly, then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F (176 C).
For the Filling… Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high speed blender with coconut cream, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and maple syrup. Mix on high until very creamy and smooth.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed.
Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears “jiggly” but not liquidy.
Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely (uncovered) – at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- For the Lemon Curd…Place coconut cream and lemon zest in a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
Add lemon juice and arrowroot starch to a small mixing bowl and whisk to thoroughly dissolve. Then add to coconut cream mixture and stir.
Lastly, add maple syrup and whisk again until well combined.
Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low bubble – not boil – whisking often. Once it starts bubbling and getting thick, reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until a visible ribbon forms when spooning a bit of the curd across the top. It should be thick and kind of jiggly in texture. During this process switch to a rubber spatula for stirring to ensure the curd isn’t sticking to the bottom or sides of the pan.
Remove from heat and taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for acidity/brightness, or maple syrup for sweetness.
Let rest for 15 minutes, then whisk once more and transfer to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap touches the curd – otherwise a film may form (I didn’t do that and it was fine!).
Refrigerate for 5-6 hours, or overnight, or until completely chilled and set. I only let mine sit for 4 hours, and it was still great on top of the bars.
To serve, spread the lemon curd over the bars, slice and top with fresh berries (optional)
Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, up to 4 days, though best within the first 2 days.
I took this with my phone, as I didn’t have a lot of extra time to take pics while we were baking. Super easy to let kids help you zest! She also loved working our Vitamix!