I love, love, love lemon bars. Living in St. Louis, I’m frequently filled with false hope at sightings of gooey butter cake, as is oh-so-common around these parts, because I always mistake it for lemon bars at first glance. Tragically, traditional lemon bars are brimming with all kinds of uncool animal products (hooves, aka: gelatin), so even if I did happen to eye one while out and about, it would be highly unlikely that I could partake in the lemony, gooey goodness. Thankfully, Veganomicon (one of the star cookbooks in my arsenal) has saved me from a future devoid of this citrus wonder.
I’ve been planning to make these since the day I saw this recipe, but an early and troubling experience with Agar had been holding me back until this past weekend, when I decided to show that seaweed who’s boss! It turns out there’s really nothing to using Agar (my first botched attempt was a rookie mistake) and there is absolutely zero difference in taste and texture as compared to gelatin.
So, if you’re vegan and missing the taste of lemon bars – get in a kitchen and whip these up, post haste! You’ll be a happy camper, I promise.
Vegan Lemon Bars
Recipe courtesy of Veganomicon
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 powdered sugar, plus additional to decorate finished bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup Earth Balance
1 1/3 cups water
3 tbs agar flakes
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/8 tsp turmeric
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tbs arrowroot powder
1 tbs finely grated lemon zest (1-2 large lemons)
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- Lightly grease a 9×13 in baking pan
- Pulse the flour, powdered sugar and cornstarch in a food processor
- Add the Earth Balance in tablespoons and blend 8 to 10 seconds and then pulse until the mixture resembles course meal
- Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press firmly into an even layer with slightly raised sides so that it can hold the filling
- Refrigerate for about 30 min and preheat oven to 350°. Bake unfilled crust for 25 min. Remove from oven an let cool
- Meanwhile, soak the agar in the water (in a saucepan) for 15 min.
- Use the time while it soaks to zest your lemons and squeeze your lemon juice
- Mix arrowroot into the lemon juice to dissolve
- When the agar has soaked, turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for about 10 min, or until the agar is completely dissolved
- Add the granulated sugar and turmeric and boil until they have dissolved, about 3 min.
- Turn down the heat to medium and add the arrowroot mixture, then add the lemon zest and non-dairy milk
- Whisk constantly until mixture thickens, about 5 min. (It should not be rapidly boiling, but low bubbling is okay)
- Pour the mixture into the prepared crust. Let cool for 20 min. and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until the filling is only slightly jiggly and has set
- Use a sifter or a fine-mesh strainer to sprinkle the bars with powdered sugar. Slice into square and serve
Yield: One dozen