Woohoo!! Summertime is BACK…. & so is Your Vegan Neighbor!!! Whaaaaat?! That’s right!! HELLO, old friends & new friends!!! Ahhhhh…. it’s so good to be back!!
I sincerely apologize for my LOOOOONG hiatus!!!! All I can really say is, John Lennon was RIGHT! – “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans!” A lot has happened in my life these last few years since I posted last, but I won’t bore you with excuses in regards to Your Vegan Neighbor’s disappearance! I am still vegan, alive & kickin’! So…. Let’s not waste ANY more time – am I right?!!
These hot, sunshine filled days really make me crave cold, refreshing sweets… which brings me to these delicious summertime treats – LEMON BARS!!
These awesome little bars seem to be a favorite of many. This simple recipe is slightly adapted from one of my most beloved cookbooks, ‘The Joy of Vegan Baking,’ by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. I highly recommend this book!
For the Crust…
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (I prefer using Earth Balance sticks)
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Filling…
- a little more than 1/2 block of extra-firm silken tofu, which is roughly 3/4 cup (I use Mori-Nu’s shelf-stable boxes)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (please use fresh lemons for this! It will take 2-3)
- 2 Tbsp unbleached flour
- 1.5 Tbsp cornstarch
- Sifted confectioners sugar, optional (this is to sift on top of the bars after they have cooled!)
Preheat your oven to 350*F. Grease & lightly flour an 8×8″ square baking pan, or simply line the pan with parchment paper (this is my preferred method, as you can lift the baked squares right out of the pan for cutting when they are done).
To make the crust, cream the butter & the sugar with an electric hand mixer until whipped and fluffy. Add the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Press into the bottom of your prepped pan and bake for around 20 minutes, until the edges start to brown lightly. Set on a wire rack to cool while you make your filling.
To make the filling, in your food processor, blend the tofu until nice and creamy (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar & blend again until smooth. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, flour & cornstarch and BLEND!! Pour the filling over the cooled shortbread crust… and get ready to witness the magic of baking!
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until filling is set (I actually ended up cooking mine for 40 minutes & I think they turned out pretty perfect!) Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. If you used parchment, you should be able to lift it right out onto a cutting board before dividing into 9 even squares (or 16, depending on your preferences!). *Be sure to press your knife down hard to break through that delicious shortbread! Dust with confectioners sugar before serving for a lovely presentation.
Makes 9 big squares, or 16 smaller bites – the level of gluttony you’d like to serve up is up to you! 😉