Tart, luscious and light (!) lemon bars

Pictured: A double batch.

If I’m having dessert, it’s almost guaranteed I’m choosing chocolate. Dark, rich, worth the calories chocolate. Rarely, if ever, do I turn to fruity things. The big exceptions? Fruit pie (Mmm, pieeee), berry cobbler and lemon bars. Lovely, tart, delicious lemon bars.

But you know what? When I made them and realized how many eggs and how much butter went into my favorite fruity confection, suddenly they didn’t seem so fab. Until now. I found a recipe that sheds fat and calories without sacrificing flavor or texture. Miracles, I tell you.

Now the shortbread crust isn’t as shortbread-licious as my favorite recipe (see here), but it’s pretty darn good. And the lemon zestiness? Perfect. Truly, these bars received rave reviews from friends. And did I mention they aren’t that bad for you?

N.S.F.D Ranking **-***
Prep: 15 minutes
Total time: 3 hours (with cooling)

Lemon Squares
Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp pine nuts toasted & coarsely chopped
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp canola oil
Cooking spray
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2  Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 large egg whites
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350°
2. Combine flour, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, pine nuts, and salt in a food processor; pulse twice to mix.
3. Add butter and canola oil. Pulse 3 to 5 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.
4. Press mixture into the bottom of an 8 inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 350° for 20 min. or until lightly browned then reduce oven temperature to 325°.
6. Meanwhile, combine granulated sugar, flour, zest, juice and eggs in a medium bowl, whisking until smooth.
7. Pour mixture over cooked crust. Bake at 325° for 20 min. or until set.
8. Remove from oven, and cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cover and chill for at least two hours.
9. Sprinkle squares evenly with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.

10. Enjoy!
– I used pre-toasted pine nuts to save time
– Use a fine mesh sieve to dust the powdered sugar at the end
– Do not think, for one second, of trying to use bottled lemon juice. Don’t even think of it. 
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