No squeezing or knuckle-scraping grating is required to make these Meyer Lemon Yogurt Squares. These cookies have a coconut shortbread base with a light and creamy lemon layer over the top. Not as rich and heavy as traditional lemon squares but every bit as delicious.
Do I have to use Meyer lemons or an I substitute regular lemons?
Have you tried Meyer lemons yet? The tartness of a lemon + the sweetness of a tangerine = a Meyer lemon. Perfect for these lemon squares. They’re in season from January to April, so act fast. Otherwise, you can use regular lemons.
These aren’t your usual lemon squares…
Over at Will Write for Food (an interesting website about the art of food blogging), Dianne J. recently hosted a lively discussion concerning what constitutes an adapted or inspired recipe, an original recipe and outright stealing.
In light of her post, I would like to think this recipe is original. Despite the fact that I borrowed ideas from many places, the end product has a different flavor, texture and composition than any other lemon square I’ve ever tasted.
Credit where credit is due:
- The crust is adapted from the shortbread cookie base in Pam Anderson’s The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great (one of my favorite cookbooks). You’ve seen the same buttery crust before in my Toffee Bars Made Easy
- I read about lemon grass bars in a recent issue of Bon Appetit with coconut added to the shortbread base. Subsequently, I tried it and now you should too, if you’re a coconut lover, that is.
- Dorie Greenspan gave me the idea to use a blender to pulverize a whole lemon in her recipe for Tartest Lemon Tart published in Baking From My House to Yours. As a result of this revolutionary method, no squeezing or grating is required.
- I wanted a creamy lemon layer as opposed to a clear, lemon pie-like filling. I always have Greek yogurt in the refrigerator. Turns out to be the perfect addition making these lemon cookies smooth and creamy.
How to prepare the pan: good for any pan cookies
Lining your baking dish/pan with non-stick aluminum foil saves clean-up time, makes serving clean and easy, and keeps the cookie filling from sticking to the pan. This tip works especially well for bar cookies, rice crispy squares, candy, etc.
Preparing Meyer lemon yogurt layer:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1 whole Meyer lemon (may substitute a medium-size regular lemon)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)
- Prepare 8-inch square pan by lining with non-stick foil. Mold foil to shape of pan by turning it over, using hands to shape and then placing molded foil back inside. See pictures above. I highly recommend the foil as the lemon filling can leak under the base and make the finished bars difficult to remove.
- Melt butter in microwave for 50 seconds on HIGH in 4 cup or more glass measure. Add flour, powdered sugar, salt, and coconut. Lightly mix with a fork just until all ingredients are moistened. Pat into prepared pan. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
- Quarter washed and dried Meyer lemon. Trim center core and remove ALL seeds. (If you miss one, you'll have dark specks in your lemon layer.)
- Place lemon in a blender with sugar and pulse on high until mixture is homogeneous throughout, cleaning the sides often. Add flour, salt, and baking powder, pulsing until mixed. Add eggs and yogurt pulsing only 3-4 times or until batter is just mixed but smooth.
- Pour lemon mixture over warm crust immediately after removing crust from the oven. Put back into the oven and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or until middle is set.
- When cool, place in refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. Pull bars out of pan with foil still attached. Peel foil away and cut into squares while cold. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving. Serve chilled. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
* Do not layer bars when storing or serving. The crust will soften where they are stacked on top of each other.
* Regular lemons may be substituted for Meyer lemons but the taste will be a bit more tart--still very good.
- Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Aluminum Foil (95 Square Foot Roll)
- Calphalon (BW3208) Classic Bakeware 8-Inch Square Nonstick Cake Pan
- KitchenAid KSB1575ER 5-Speed Diamond Blender with 60-Ounce BPA-Free Pitcher - Empire Red
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 181 Total Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 41mg Sodium: 164mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 21g Protein: 3g
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