Honey Lemon Bars with Blueberry Jam Swirl
It’s the weekend! …and my first day off in 12 very long days. As mentioned in my last post, this past weekend I was in San Diego for an annual industry meeting. It was a great meeting and it is always good spending time with coworkers that I don’t see on a regular basis. But let’s be honest, it’s nice to be home and relaxing for the first time in two weeks. The best part of coming home is always getting back to a routine, and puppy kisses aren’t too bad either.
I was a little surprised when I woke up this morning to see six inches of Sierra cement on the ground. The snow meant I probably wasn’t going to be doing anything outside today, but I did get a good spin class in this morning. At one point we were doing tabata intervals and I must have pushed my heart rate a little too hard because I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out. I got through it though and felt really good after class. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I’ll keep telling myself that anyways…
So with the snow outside and no chance of going hiking or to the beach, what’s a girl to do on a day like today? Bake of course! Since I was doing Whole30 for the past couple of months, I haven’t baked anything in a really long time. Today it just sounded right. It was then only a question of what to bake. I decided to bake something that brings me back to my childhood. When my parents would let me take over the kitchen and make a total mess when I was a little girl, there were two things that I used to make, lemon bars and snickerdoodles. Back then, I used to make them both from the classic Betty Crocker cookbook. I am pretty sure that every household in America has had one of those red cookbooks at some point. I still have mine and the pages are stained and falling out, but there is no way that I could ever part with it.
Since I try to completely avoid all refined sugar and grains these days, I needed to find a way to revamp one of my favorite recipes. I had just bought a bunch of lemons and decided that lemon bars would be the experiment of the day. I was a little surprised when these came out as good as they did. I only wish that I would have saved this recipe to make tomorrow, so I could bring the leftovers into work on Monday morning. Now, the deliciously tart, slightly sweet bars are just sitting in my fridge beckoning to me. These are seriously that good. If Betty Crocker was an actual person, she would be rolling over in her grave when I say this, but I think I prefer mine over her’s. Give them a try and let me know what you think.
Honey Lemon Bars with Blueberry Jam Swirl
- 1 cup finely ground almond flour
- 3 tablespoons palm or vegetable shortening (room temperature)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- pinch of salt
Ingredients for the filling:
- 1 egg
- 1 yolk
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
Ingredients for blueberry jam:
- 10 ounces of fresh blueberries
- 1/3 cup honey
- Juice from 1/2 a lemon
- Start with making the blueberry jam. Rinse your blueberries and place them into a small saucepan. Mash the berries with a potato masher and then add the honey and lemon juice. Place over medium-high heat and allow to boil for about 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. Set aside.
- While the jam is cooking, you can start making the crust. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all the crust ingredients in a large glass bowl and work it with a wooden spoon until it creates a dough. Depending on how thick your honey is, you may or may not want to warm it first over the stove to make it easier to incorporate.
- Grease the bottom of an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with shortening and spread your dough in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Pop it in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until slightly puffed up and lightly golden brown.
- While your crust is baking, get started on the filling. Whisk together all ingredients for the filling until well-combined. Once again, depending on the thickness of your honey, you may or may not want to warm it up first.
- After your crust has come out of the oven, let it rest for about 5 minutes before pouring on the filling. Letting it rest will allow the crust to sink in the middle and naturally create edges.
- Pour in the filling and then top with dollops of the blueberry jam and swirl it around with a toothpick to make pretty designs. The leftover jam can be stored in your fridge and used for everything from smoothies to just eating it with a spoon. It should last for a couple of weeks in your fridge.
- Place the baking dish back in the oven for about 15 more minutes until the center is set. Don’t worry if there is still a little bit of jiggle, it will solidify once you take it out of the oven. Let it rest on a wire rack for about 15 minutes and then cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.
- IMPORTANT: You must let this sit for about two hours in the fridge before serving. I couldn’t help it and tasted mine right out of the oven. It was still delicious, but after it sat in the fridge for a couple of hours it was amazing. If it’s just you, go ahead and dig into the warm lemon bars, but if you have guests to impress, believe me, be patient and let it rest.
That’s one of my favorite childhood sweet treats recreated to be healthy. What is one of your favorite childhood treats? It might just be the next thing that I try to recreate!