Gluten-free lemon bars are right up there with clean sheets, new house slippers, pastel colored sweatpants, and a fresh bath towel and bath mat. We’re talking high-quality, high-functioning adult indulgences that we have ourselves to thank for.
You feel me feelin’ myself headed into these spring days?
Citrus season always feels like an awakening to spring. These are those days. I’m just starting to see green leaves and flowers bud from under the frost-burnt garden. The days are sneaking towards longer. The sun feels warmer. And I’m sprinkling my baking and desserts with lemon and fresh fruit.
I think of these easy lemon bars as my everyday way to Lemon Meringue Pie. Much more accessible. Much more snackable. A few perfect bites in the quiet between Zoom work meetings. If
Our version today includes a soft cookie almond flour crust, crumble topping, and fresh raspberries. Let’s!
Here’s what you’ll need for these Almond Flour Gluten Free Lemon Bars:
• almond flour. Different from almond meal, flour is finely ground without the almond skin. I like the moisture the almond flour lends over a gluten-free flour blend.
• granulated sugar to bring that cookie crisp to the crust and balance to the lemon filling.
• cornstarch to help bind and thicken the crust and filling.
• cold butter to create a crumbly crust.
• a splash of almond extract to add an almond perfume to our crust.
• fresh lemon juice to add all the bright comfort we’re looking for.
• eggs to bind and set the filling.
• sea salt to balance the sweetness and generally enhance the flavor.
• fresh raspberries because we’re extra and I love baked raspberries.
• and vanilla because we’re baking.
We’ll start by combining all of the dry ingredients for the shortbread crust into a medium bowl. Add the butter and splash of almond extract (if you’re going for it) and, with your fingers, break the butter down into bits the size of oat flakes or small peas.
Before and after pictured above so you get the crumbly texture we’re going for with this dough.
You have two options here! You can make an extra thick almond crust or you can bake like me and reserve a cup of the crust to sprinkle on top of the lemon bars before they bake.
I love a crumble topping that requires no additional effort. It’s a life bonus and we’ll take all the little bonuses we can get.
Press the crust into a greased and parchment lined pan and set it off to the oven to bake until just set and barely golden around the edges.
While the crust bakes, we’ll quick whisk together the lemon filling.
First we’ll bring out all the lemon flavor we can. In a medium bowl combine sugar and fresh lemon zest. Rub the zest into the sugar releasing the oils creating a fragrant lemon sugar.
Whisk in the cornstarch and salt.
Whisk in the eggs and that splash of vanilla extract.
The filling really is as easy as that! And wait until you taste it!
Pour the filling over the partially baked almond crust (totally fine if the crust is still warm), top with raspberries and that crumble crust we reserved.
Bake until the middle is set. You’ll know because the filling no longer sloshes or jiggles in a wave like motion. The top and edges will be just golden brown but because we’re using almond flour without an egg, don’t expect the top crumble crust to get super golden. Just barely toasty golden around the edges will do it as long as the center is set.
Allow bars to cool to mostly room temperature before serving. I like to chill them for a few hours before slicing. I get much cleaner cuts that way.
Dust with powdered sugar for extra beauty and enjoy with afternoon (or morning, for that matter) coffee.
A tart and fresh creamy lemon bar with fresh raspberries and a gluten-free almond cookie crust and crumble.
For the Crust and Topping:
- 3 cups (290 grams) almond flour
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (28 grams) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, cold and diced
- A tiny splash of almond extract
For the Filling:
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (18 grams) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
- Powdered sugar for topping
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper so the flaps hang over two sides (making the bars easier to remove) and lightly grease the parchment.
- Firsts make the crust. In a medium bowl whisk together almond flour, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the cold butter pieces and a tiny splash of almond extract if you’re using it. Use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and the butter bits are about the size of oat flakes.
- Reserve about 1 cup of the crusts mixture in a small bowl to the side and press the majority of the crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Use your fingers to press into as even a layer as possible. Bake for 10 minutes until just barely golden brown around the edges.
- While the crust bakes, whisk together the filling. In a medium bowl combine sugar and lemon zest. Use your fingers to work the zest into the sugar until fragrant. Whisk in the the cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the eggs until thick and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the lemon and vanilla.
- Pour the filling over the baked crust (it’s ok if it’s still warm) and top with raspberries and reserved crumble topping. Bake for 18-22 minutes until baked through, they no longer jiggle and the mixture is just golden. Cool to room temperature or close to it. Allow to chill before slicing (I do this for about an hour in the fridge). Dust with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.
- Store bars wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Photos of this gluten-free lemon bars recipe with my dear friend Jon Melendez.