Plate of lemon squares

Homemade Lemon Squares {Dairy Free}

September 23, 2014 by Michelle

Homemade dairy free lemon squares

Little Miss has a dairy allergy, which means I adapt a ton of recipes to work for her. When it comes to baked goods, it generally isn’t that hard, as I’ve gotten really experienced at working with coconut oil and other alternatives. Most of the time, I’m making what sounds good to me, but there are times when I let her choose what she wants me to make.

Birthday treats is a perfect example. At our school, we are still allowed to bring in treats to celebrate our kids’ birthdays. They can even be homemade (witness the Minecraft cake squares I made for Mister Man last year), which means that Little Miss ends up with nothing on a fairly regular basis. Not cool, right? Good news is that our school also allows me to bring in alternatives for her and store them in the staff lounge’s freezer so her teacher can pull them out as needed.

Typically, I send in cupcakes that are left over from a celebration at home since they’re easy and I already have them on hand. I’m not quite sure what happened at the beginning of this school year, but I had no cupcakes in my freezer – an unheard of situation. I asked Little Miss what she wanted me to send in for her birthday, and she didn’t even hesitate when she asked for lemon squares.

Plate of lemon squares

Lemon squares? A nine year old wants lemon squares as her special treat over cake and chocolate?

I never said I had a typical child. Who am I to deny her though? I had made lemon squares a month or so earlier for a friend’s get together and saved just one for Little Miss, and apparently it made an impact. I had chosen purposefully to use coconut oil because the slight hint of coconut really paired well with the lemon to take the lemon squares up a notch. They.were.amazing. Of course, if you’re a traditionalist, this recipe could easily be made with butter instead of the coconut oil in a one to one swap. But think about that coconut oil because it really made for some awesome lemon squares.

Best of all? This recipe comes together pretty quickly and is easy to make, which means that Little Miss had fun helping me put it together. Watching her face as she made her own special treat really made my day.

Baking with kids

And the lemon squares? I’m pretty sure they made hers!

Lemon Squares

Ingredients:
12 T coconut oil
2 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t salt
4 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 c sugar
1/3 c flour
zest of 1 lemon
1 c lemon juice
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions: (Note, I made these first in an 8×8 pan but they were so good that I had to update the recipe to make enough to fill a 9×13 pan – and make my family happy)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by making your crust. If your house is cool and your coconut oil is completely solid, place it in a glass dish in your microwave and warm it in 10 second increments until it is softened but not liquidy. Add 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and salt to a bowl and mix until combined. Add the coconut oil and mix until crumbly and the coconut oil is thoroughly combined.

Scoop your dough into a 9×13 pan and press gently into all the corners to make as even a layer as you can. Bake your crust at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until your crust is lightly golden and looks a little dry around the edges.

Lemon squares ready to bake

While your crust is baking, make the filling, as you will pour it into your crust as soon as the crust has finished baking. In a new bowl, add your eggs and egg yolks and whisk until frothy. Add the remaining 2 cups of granulated sugar, as well as the flour and lemon zest. Continue whisking until incorporated and the mixture has a consistent quality. Add the lemon juice and whisk until the filling is light in texture.

When your crust is baked, reduce your oven temperature to 300 degrees. Immediately pour the lemon filling over your crust and return it to the oven.

Lemon filling over baked crust

Bake for 30 minutes until your filling is no longer jiggly when you wiggle the pan in the oven, then remove your lemon squares.

Perfectly baked lemon squares

Cool your pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. I’ve struggled in the past with how to cut them and keep them neat. I finally found that I had my best success when I cut them once the bars reach room temperature then place them in the fridge for a few hours until they have completely set and then removing them from the pan (after I’ve sprinkled them with powdered sugar).

Sprinkle lemon squares with powdered sugar

These will keep in the fridge in a covered container for up to three days. Separate layers with wax paper to keep them from sticking to each other as you remove them. They will also freeze for up to a month.

Perfect amazing lemon squares

Lemon Squares {Dairy Free}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 24 bars

Lemon Squares {Dairy Free}

An easy recipe that is a dairy free twist on a traditional favorite. The coconut oil elevates the bars to an amazing flavor profile, even for those who aren't avoiding dairy.

Ingredients

    For the crust
  • 12 T coconut oil
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • For the filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 c lemon juice
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by making your crust. If your house is cool and your coconut oil is completely solid, place it in a glass dish in your microwave and warm it in 10 second increments until it is softened but not liquidy. Add 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and salt to a bowl and mix until combined. Add the coconut oil and mix until crumbly and the coconut oil is thoroughly combined.
  3. Scoop your dough into a 9x13 pan and press gently into all the corners to make as even a layer as you can. Bake your crust at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until your crust is lightly golden and looks a little dry around the edges.
  4. While your crust is baking, make the filling, as you will pour it into your crust as soon as the crust has finished baking. In a new bowl, add your eggs and egg yolks and whisk until frothy. Add the remaining 2 cups of granulated sugar, as well as the flour and lemon zest. Continue whisking until incorporated and the mixture has a consistent quality. Add the lemon juice and whisk until the filling is light in texture.
  5. When your crust is baked, reduce your oven temperature to 300 degrees. Immediately pour the lemon filling over your crust and return it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes until your filling is no longer jiggly when you wiggle the pan in the oven, then remove your lemon squares.
  6. Cool your pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. I've struggled in the past with how to cut them and keep them neat. I finally found that I had my best success when I cut them once the bars reach room temperature then place them in the fridge for a few hours until they have completely set and then removing them from the pan (after I've sprinkled them with powdered sugar).
  7. These will keep in the fridge in a covered container for up to three days. Separate layers with wax paper to keep them from sticking to each other as you remove them. They will also freeze for up to a month.

Notes

If you prefer, you can use butter in place of the coconut oil in a one to one swap, but the coconut is a perfect complement to the lemon in these bars.

http://www.honestandtruly.com/lemon-squares-dairy-free-recipe/


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    Comments

  • Jennifer


    Hi Michelle,
    Your lemon squares are a-mazing! Everyone raved about them..my husband, my kids, their friends, my book club ladies. I loved the snappy brown sugar texture of the crust paired with the tart gooey lemon curd. What a keeper this one is! I am a newbie to dairy-free baking so all your tips were very helpful and reassuring. Thank you!
    Jennifer
    Toronto, Ontario

    • Michelle


      Awww thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate it! So glad you like them. They’re some of our favorites!

  • ellen


    Have these in the oven as we speak! Will let you know how they turn out, im so excited as the sound wonderfully delicious xx

    • Michelle


      I hope you like them! They’re a hit around here 🙂

  • Sarah


    I don’t understand…I thought this was a dairy free recipe but it calls for eggs? Eggs are dairy.

    • Michelle


      Egg isn’t dairy. While it is sold in the dairy section, eggs come from chickens. Dairy comes from cows. Those with a dairy allergy are allergic to milk and milk products, which this recipe does not include 🙂

  • Yuri


    I just finished making them with my 3 yr old who looooves lemon – she was sucking the lemons after I’d finished squeezing them! They’re in the oven now! I bfeed my 3 mth old who has an intolerance to milk protein so I have to find new non dairy recipes, thanks!!

    • Michelle


      I hope you enjoy them! My dairy free daughter loves that I make this for her. I have a ton of dairy free or easily adaptable recipes – there’s a dairy free tab if you need more! Good luck! Mine loves the lemon and will suck on the fruit, too 🙂

  • Ericka


    This recipes looks amazing! I am making these later in the day to surprise my 16yr old. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Michelle


      I hope it turned out great for you. These are a favorite around here!

  • Krista


    Hi! I made these and love them, but it turns out my son may have a gluten sensitivity as well as dairy. Do you know if anyone has had luck making these with almond flour?

    • Michelle


      Oh gluten is another hard one. I feel for you. I have not made these with almond flour, but it’s worth a try! I know my friends with gluten issues are able to use it fairly successfully in most baking applications. Fingers crossed and let me know how it goes!

    • Emma


      I just made these with a cup4cup gluten-free flour substitute and used 1/2 cup coconut flour and 1/4 brown sugar for the crust. It turned out divine and I can’t stop eating them now.

      What a fantastic recipe!!! Kudos to Michelle 🙂

      • Michelle


        That’s perfect! I’m so glad that worked out for you and you provided the details of what you did. We love it here, and I’m so glad it’s working for others!

  • Jasmine


    HI Michelle.

    Do you have the recipe amounts for the 8*8 pan still?

    • Michelle


      Let me look and see if I can figure it out. I feel like I added 50% to everything, so doing 2/3 of the current recipe SHOULD work. Ironically, I just made these again on Wednesday, as they are my daughter’s favorite dessert and she wanted to take them for the last day of school. I’ll noodle around and see if I can figure it out!

  • Brianne


    12 Tablespoons of coconut oil? Is that right?

    • Michelle


      Yes, that is correct – remember this is going in a 13×9 pan, so the crust to fit this makes enough to go that far!

  • Taylor


    I’m waiting for these to cool now! I love how you substituted butter for coconut oil. I have to be dairy free while I breastfeed my daughter with a dairy allergy so this is perfect for my family! I can’t wait to try them. I followed your instructions and they cooked perfectly. The crust looks awesome. Can’t wait to dig into them. Thanks for posting this!

    • Michelle


      I totally understand, and I hope you enjoyed these! My daughter has a dairy allergy, and there are a bunch of dairy free recipes if you need more ideas – under the “food” tab, there’s a dairy free option under special dietary needs. Good luck!

  • Holly


    Thanks for great recipe! I tried cutting bars at room temp as described but found that knife seemed to butcher recipe so I stopped to put entire pan in fridge. After 2hrs, still couldn’t cut. Any advice?

    • Michelle


      When you put them in the first, the base gets really solid! I generally do one of two things – I use my bench scraper to cut them, which means just pushing straight down and not cutting “through” the bars, or I use a really sharp knife. Either way, I generally have warm water handy to clean off my knife or bench scraper to ensure the filling doesn’t stick to it excessively and make the rest hard to cut. Does that make sense? I do prefer to use my bench scraper to cut – it’s one of my favorite kitchen tools ever, and I use it for EVERYthing!

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