…Find a way to eat them.
The other day, my sister randomly mentioned a craving for lemon squares and I felt a sudden turning in my tummy – that familiar ache of lemon longing. I needed a fix but I wanted it to be guiltless. After a couple of days of poring over possibilities, I finally came up with a recipe that seemed simple enough to do. I used a generic “Best Lemon Squares” recipe for reference but changed pretty much everything about it (HAHA), and today I finally had the time to test my theories out.
Pleasantly surprised by the results of my first test run on this random recipe, I’ve decided to share it with all of you in hopes that you enjoy it too! Although I have yet to discover a cure for my inabilityto makeanythingpretty, I’ve at least found a way to work with this sad condition.*
Anyway, moving forward, this recipe yields enough for about a dozen squares – give or take a few depending on how deep your pan/Pyrex is.
TOTALLY GUILTLESS LEMON SQUARES by THE BETTER FIT
1 cup raw organic almond flour/almond meal
4 tbsp organic, wheat-free, gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
2 tbsp organic agave syrup
1/3 cup organic cashew butter*
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 egg whites OR the equivalent in your chosen egg replacement (for this we manually ground our own flax seed meal and mixed water in to achieve gelatinous consistency)
4 small/medium lemons – fully juiced and strained
1/3 cup organic agave syrup
1/4 cup organic, wheat-free, gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
4 tbsp organic, unsweetened almond milk (with vanilla extract)
First, pre-heat your oven at 350 Farenheit (aka 175 Celsius). Then, put all of the crust ingredients in a mixing bowl and get them well-acquainted with each other. Just get them nice and homogenous and such. The almond flour will never be completely fine, but that’s okay, you’re going to pat it down into the pan anyway.
After you’ve lined the bottom of your Pyrex/pan with the crust mixture, pack it in so it’s nice and tight and it holds. Bake this for about 15 minutes – or a little longer, til it’s begun to brown ever so slightly. Conventional recipes that use normal white baking flour seem to brown and cook faster and claim 10-15 minute baking periods but in doing this today I found 18 minutes to be a pretty good length of time to keep it in the oven.
Meanwhile, as you’re waiting for that nutty crust to tan, you can start on the yummy lemon layer of the bars.
Supposing you are even remotely as crazy as my aunt, my mom, and myself (they had joined me for my little lemon square party); you will probably insist on making almost every little aspect of this recipe from scratch. If that is the case, then the following information will be of some use to you:
1. Making your own flax seed egg replacement is simple: all you have to do is grind your flax seeds with a mortar and pestel (or a food processor if you are less badass than we are). After you’ve done that you add water at a ratio of 1 : 2 (flax : water). Make sure you let it sit like that until it begins to turn gelatinous, then just observe if you might need a little more water than you first thought and make the necessary adjustments. Otherwise, stick to the recipe and you’ll be fine.
2. This piece of advice is more relevant to the crust, but good to know as well: if you want to make your own cashew butter too, you will need to put your nuts (they must be either dried, raw, or toasted in coconut oil ONLY) in a resealable bag, place the bag on a heavy wooden countertop (no tile), take a hammer, and break them down. After they’ve turned near-dusty, throw them into either a food processor or another mortar and pestel. If you are using a food processor, just churn as needed until the nuts become as creamy as possible. If you find them to still be too powdery or chunky despite your most valiant efforts to use their organic oils, you have my permission (haha!) to throw in some extra virgin olive oil to keep the butter moist. Meanwhile, if you are using a mortar and pestel…good luck. That’s what we did for this recipe and we just didn’t have enough time to actually make it a creamy cashew butter. It was still slightly powdery and chunky when we were done with it but we threw it in there anyway. Totally worth the manual labor.
Now back to the recipe, once the “custard” ingredients have been prepared you can put them all in another mixing bowl together and, using either a whisk or an electric beater, simply almost-aggressively mix them.
By now the crust should be ready to take from the oven and let cool slightly before you pour the lemon topping onto it and make sure its nice and even.
Once the topping has been placed evenly over the crust it’s time to pop it all back into the oven. Original (normal) lemon square recipes call for 15-20 minutes of baking time with the topping on, but I would suggest 30 minutes flat for this particular recipe. If you do want the topping to bind better and faster, you can either just use the egg whites really; or you can mix in some clear, organic, unsweetened, flavor-less gelatin. Up to you!
When the 30 minutes is up, you can take the lemon squares out of the oven and let them cool. They will remain gooey for another 30 minutes or so, at which point they will begin setting better. After allowing them to cool, they can go straight into the fridge and taken out later on to be consumed deliciously fresh, and cold.
These particular lemon squares are incredibly tarty, and nutty. They’re far from “too sweet” the way most tart, crusty desserts are, and they are fully organic. Isn’t that great?!
Again, I know they aren’t pretty – those flax seed kernels on top probably drive every last OCD person on this planet bonkers. But we work with what we’ve got right? Next time, I would like to try this recipe with egg – it’s just that my aunts and mom can’t have egg anymore and I wanted to be able to work within their parameters.
Anyway, I declare this particular recipe a success. It’s right up my alley. I’m not a big fan of diabetes-inducing desserts, so I like a lot of things that are tarty, or bitter, or only moderately sweet; which (sans bitterness) is exactly what this is. Try it yourselves and let me know what you think. 🙂 Suggestions, ideas, requests, and questions are always welcome!