Gluten-Free Lemon Bars with an Almond Crust

Posted by on Monday Apr 28th, 2014 | Print

Natalie of Good Girl Style is back today to share a really lovely sweet for Mother’s Day–eternal classic, Lemon Bars, gone gluten-free. Natalie joins us each month to share incredible desserts with Big Girls, Small Kitchen readers–desserts that are entirely gluten-free, but not like obviously gluten-free. That means no specialty flours or hard-to-find ingredients, just good old-fashioned butter, sugar, chocolate, cream, and rich, creamy peanut butter. Don’t miss her most recent posts, about Strawberry Mousse and Peanut Butter Eggs.

Oh, lemon. It’s one of my favorite dessert flavors, which puts lemon bars at the top of the list, too.

This version is even more delicious because the almond crust holds its own against the filling and offers a wonderful texture switch from gooey to crunchy. Using an already cooked lemon curd instead of a liquid filling that bakes fully in the oven allows the crust to remain crisp and the filling to remain firm. Re-baking the lemon curd firms it up, though, creating a smooth and cheerful bright-yellow filling.

Though this recipe takes a bit of effort, the resulting treats are perfect to bring to a baby shower or Mother’s Day brunch.

**Recipe**

Lemon Bars with Almond Crust
Adapted from The Nourishing Home
Makes 16 small squares

Ingredients

For the almond crust:
1 cup almonds (blanched or unblanched), ground to a fine powder in a blender or food processor (be careful not to over-process or you’ll end up with almond butter!)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

For the lemon curd filling:
6 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (plan on about 2-3 lemons)
Zest from one lemon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

Make the crust: Mix the ground almonds, melted butter, and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour into an 8-by-8-inch square pan (or 8 1/2-inch round) lined with parchment paper. Use the back of the spoon to spread and press the mixture together to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, until just beginning to look golden and dry. Let cool. Turn oven down to 300°F.

Make the filling: In a large heatproof metal or glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest together. Place on top of a pot of simmering water and add the butter a few pieces at a time until melted and combined, stirring frequently. Continue to cook over the simmering water for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and coating the back of the spoon. Remove from heat and strain into a shallow bowl to remove any curdled egg bits and keep the filling smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature. Spread the lemon curd filling over the crust and bake at 300°F for 18 to 20 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

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  • caitlin

    They look incredible!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      thanks!

  • Serenity

    These look so good! Lemon bars are one of my favorites, so I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. (Also, gorgeous photos!)

  • Sammi Sunshine

    The almond crust sounds incredible! I’m not gluten free, but I am going to have to try this out!

    Sammi at Sammi Sunshine- A Food Blog

    • Natalie

      Adds such a nice texture/taste…and easy as can be! ~Natalie

  • http://butteredsideupblog.blogspot.com/ EricaLeaPhotos

    Just slipped a pan of these into the oven. I made them for my gluten-free relatives. I’ll let you know how they turned out – I’m pretty sure they’re going to be awesome. :)

  • http://butteredsideupblog.blogspot.com/ EricaLeaPhotos

    They were amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. :)

    • Natalie

      So glad you loved them Erica, hope your relatives did too! :) Yay for springtime and cheerful treats!

  • http://arhubarbrhapsody.blogspot.com.au/ Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody)

    They look so good! Delicate and luscious.

  • Aimee

    The lemon curd blows my mind!!!! I used Swerve instead of sugar. Best I have ever had!!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      So glad you loved!

  • Elma

    Hello dear! I am totally in love with your posts. Gorgeous and delicious recipes!
    Take a look at my blog as I also do cooking and photography posts:
    http://elmarama.blogspot.com/

    Thanks doll and have a great day!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thanks, Elma!

  • mimi rippee

    wonderful!!! and such beautiful photos!!!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      thanks, mimi!

  • Amy

    These look fabulous! Do they need to be refrigerated after they are cut? I’m considering baking these and shipping them to my boyfriend’s mom for Mother’s Day, so I’m wondering if they’ll hold up (unrefrigerated) in the mail for a few days.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      From Natalie: “They are definitely softer and the more flexible when they’re not refrigerated, so I do not think they’d be good to ship, especially now that it’s getting warmer. As far as safety, since they’re baked, it’s probably not the end of the world.” In other words, they may get messy. Maybe try the very shippable flour-free peanut butter cookies here: http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2012/11/flourless-peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

  • http://glutenfreehomemaker.com glutenfreehomemaker

    I have always loved lemon bars, and I love the almond crust idea. They look lovely and delicious! This would be a great recipe to link to Gluten-Free Wednesdays blog carnival. No pressure, just an invitation. :) http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/gluten-free-wednesdays-5-7-14/

  • http://cookieandkate.com/ Cookie and Kate

    These lemon bars sound so great! I’m not a gluten-free eater but several of my closest friends are. I love using almond meal—it has way more flavor than boring all-purpose flour, anyway!

  • Anna Conde

    these were the worst lemon bars i have ever had. they reeked of zucchini and i didn’t even add zucchini. I threw them out with out tasting because i threw up just from the smell. I followed all the instructions to a T and got a big fat pile of crap. don’t waste your time.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Sorry to hear you had trouble with these–thanks for the comment.

  • Sharon

    Where’s the info on carbs and such?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I don’t provide it, but you can definitely run the ingredients through myfitnesspal. Enjoy!