Healthier Lemon Bars- Indulge your sweet tooth! These easy to make Lemon Bars have a golden buttery shortbread crust , a custard -like filling with the perfect blend of sweetness and bright lemon flavor and a light dusting of powdered sugar. The best part? These Weight Watchers Lemon bars are only 100 cal/each (5 Smart pts) .
I didn’t really intend to have Lemon bars for lunch, but that’s what happened! You see I’ve had this insatiable craving for Lemon Bars for the last few weeks.
My co-worker had us all over for a BBQ a few weeks back. It was a perfect sunny ( yes that happens in Seattle!) afternoon spent on the rooftop of his place overlooking the waters of Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier. The BBQ was working overtime grilling up summer time favorites, everyone brought a dish to share and we ended up with a huge feast . I brought this Skillet Mexican Street Corn ( big HIT!)
I didn’t realize there was going to be an amazing array of desserts that made their way to the table after the dinner plates were cleared. I was so full I just couldn’t partake in the desserts but I got a glimpse of the most delectable looking lemon bars. I was proud of myself for showing some restraint but that was just a temporary thing. I had LEMON BARS on the brain!
I googled to find a “healthier” version of traditional Lemon Bars. I’m not a baker…so for me to source out a baking recipe you know the craving had to be intense! When I came across these Weight Watchers Lemon Bars I knew I HAD to make them. They had all the makings of a great Lemon Bar, a golden buttery and flaky crust, tart ( but still somehow sweet) lemon custard-like filling and a light dusting of powdered sugar AND they looked really easy to make (even for a non-baker like myself) AND they only have 100/calories per bar. DONE!
So how do you make these almost guilt-free lemon bars (I say “almost” because they still have sugar and butter-as any good lemon bar should. They just have far less of both – but don’t worry, when you bite into these bars you wont even know they have been lightened up! )? It’s really SIMPLE!
First you’ll make the crust, by combining the flour and brown sugar in a food processor ( or blender) until it’s fully incorporated. Then you’ll toss in the butter pieces. The trick here is to have COLD butter because you’ll want to use short burst of power with the food processor ( or blender) until the butter is cut into tiny pea-sized pieces and the dough is “lumpy”.
Next you’ll spread the crust mixture into an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan and press the dough down with a spatula( or your hands) until it’s even and creates a packed surface. Then the crust needs to cook for about 20 mins so that it can get nice and toasty brown before adding the lemon topping (we don’t want a soggy crust!).
While the crust is baking you can make the lemon topping . It’s as simple as beating the eggs in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer and adding the vanilla extract and half of the powdered sugar. Next you’ll add the ¾ cup of lemon juice (which is approx. the juice of 3 lemons) and the remaining powdered sugar and the lemon zest ( don’t skip the zest, that extra lemon hit makes the bars)
Here’s the only critical part of the recipe. The crust needs to be HOT when you add the lemon mixture. So as soon as you take the crust out of the oven add the lemon mixture. You’ll want to reduce the oven temperature to 300F ( down from 350F for the crust) and bake 30 minutes.
Let the lemon bars cool completely and cut into 24 bars. I so wanted to just sink my fork into the pan of lemon bars when they first came out of the oven but waiting for the lemon bars to cool completely is a necessary step so that they can be cut easily.
Highly suggest the sprinkling of powdered sugar, it ups the fancy factor . Luckily these Weight Watcher Lemon Bars only have about 100 calories each because if you go a little crazy, like I did, you can just make lemon bars your lunch:) . Craving subsided!
- 1¼ cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 5 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
- 8 Tbsp regular butter, cold, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 large egg(s)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ cup(s) powdered sugar, divided
- ¾ cup(s) fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350F.(Adjusting rack so it is in the middle of the oven)
- In a food processor (or blender) mix the flour and brown sugar until fully incorporated. Add COLD butter to the flour mixture and pulse, using short bursts, until the butter is cut into tiny pea-sized pieces and the dough appears lumpy.
- Spread dough as evenly as possible in an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 pan. Press down with a spatula to create a packed surface. Place pan in the center of oven and bake until golden, approx. 20 mins).
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until well blended. Add vanilla extract and ¾ cup powdered sugar and mix well. Add lemon juice and remaining powdered sugar. Continue to mix until powdered sugar is dissolved, mix in lemon zest.
- Remove crust from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300F. Immediately pour lemon filling mixture over hot crust. Return to oven and continue to cook for an additional 30 mins. Cool bars completely before cutting. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
Recipe from Weight Watchers – Lemon Bars