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Meyer Lemon Bars for Clumsy Cooks

Making Meyer Lemon Bar Cookies requires no squeezing or knuckle-scraping grating thanks to a blender. 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.

MEYER LEMON YOGURT SQUARE on plate with a fork

Can I substitute regular lemons for Meyer lemons?

Yes. You can replace the Meyer lemons with regular lemons.

BUT, 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. 

Inspiration for this Meyer Lemon Bar Cookie recipe

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.

  1. 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
  2. I read about lemongrass 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 remove sticky cookies from the pan

Line your baking pan with aluminum foil to make serving sticky cookies neat and easy. It also saves clean-up time. This tip works especially well for bar cookies, rice crispy squares, candy, etc.

I recommend non-stick aluminum foil. It’s the easiest. If you don’t have it, use regular foil and spray it with vegetable oil.

lining a pan with aluminum foil
1. Place the dull side of foil next to the outside of the pan. Use hands to press it down in a way the conforms to the shape of the pan.
2. Lift the oil from the outside of the pan and place it inside the pan. Push the corners into place with gentle fingers.

Preparing the Meyer lemon yogurt layer

Use a blender to make lemon filling for Meyer Lemon squares.

Recipes for lemon lovers


Did you try this recipe and enjoy it? Consider helping other readers (and me) by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required.

If you have a question or tip to share, please leave it in the regular comments after the recipe so I can answer back. Or, email me privately: paula at saladinajar.com.

Thank you for visiting!
Paula

MEYER LEMON YOGURT SQUARES--one square on plate ready to eat

Meyer Lemon Bar Cookies

Yield: 12 squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Lemon Bars with a coconut shortbread base and a creamy lemon layer over the top. Recipe calls for
using the entire lemon (minus seeds)--no grating or squeezing required.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Notes

* 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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 181Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 164mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 21gProtein: 3g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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April

Tuesday 18th of June 2013

I am in the process of making these bars. Just put them in the oven. I love your tips and ideas. We have a mutual friend Sharon, & I am a Sonographer and aspiring cook. I wanted to know what you thought about boiling the lemon (whole) in sugar water to get it tender before attempting to blend. I did pop them in the microwave for 15 sec. to soften them. Maybe it's my blender or the fact I used regular lemons (not Meyer season) but I felt I needed to strain the lemon sugar mixture. It was too lumpy. Love the added coconut to the crust, hope the recipient (lemon lover) does too. PS love the use of "homogenous" in your recipe, it's a lil ultrasound and a lil culinary.

Winnie

Tuesday 16th of April 2013

Love this recipe and your website! Made it last week and making it today again. Thanks!

jay

Tuesday 6th of March 2012

This lemon bar recipe looks yummy. Seems like a great one to try and take to a family party. Is that sweetened coconut? Recently I made a recipe that needed coconut and I couldn't find bagged coconut that didn't have sugar in it. It must be out there but the three stores I went to didn't carry it. If its unsweetened and I can't find any-any tips so the lemon bars aren't too sweet? Or how to 'process' a fresh coconut. Thanks, Jay

Christina Lee

Monday 11th of April 2011

Hey! Another great recipe that I can't wait to try! I'm having a jewelry party on Saturday so I think I'll need to make these for it! Thanks for sharing!

Nancy

Sunday 10th of April 2011

It's in the oven right now :) I could not get the rinds to grind in my blender. They were supposed to go in the blender right? I didn't have a meyer lemon so I used half of a lemon and half orange. The mix tasted sweet with a little tartness. Can't wait to try them!!! Love your blog!

Paula

Sunday 10th of April 2011

Nancy, you must have some tough rinds or dull blades. Maybe it is your blender. Have never tried half a lemon and half an orange. Will be anxious to hear how it goes.