Raw Lemon Bars

I used to love classic lemon bars.  You know, the ones with the super tart lemon curd filling, shortbread crust, and dusting of powdered sugar on top?  I remember making some when I was in high school with my Mom and I thought they were one of the most delicious things ever.  None of that fake store bought lemon juice stuff, the real lemon juice, my Mom always insisted.  She made pretty good key lime pies too. I inherited my love of all things tart from her.  Not too much sugar in her citrus desserts, but plenty of juice and flavor.

I was dreaming about those lemon bars the other day at work, because one of my coworkers was making lemon cookies, and they smelled amazing.  I decided that I needed to make a revamped version of lemon bars, free of dairy, refined sugar and eggs.  I ended up making a pretty easy to make and simple recipe which I know you can all appreciate.

The bars were made creamy from the coconut butter I used in the filling, and I added plenty of tart lemon and zest for a flavor explosion in your mouth!  I kept the crust simple, just one of my classic raw cheesecake crusts so the lemon filling could shine.  Lastly I topped off the bars with a dusting of coconut "powdered sugar" because how could I not?  I was looking to recreate the classic after all. They were amazing!  Tart and sweet, and perfectly balanced. I shared some with my Mom and she loved them as well, stating right away that they had the perfect amount of lemon.  Which made me happy.

Raw Lemon Bars 
Makes 12

Crust:
1 cups finely shredded dried coconut
1 cup sprouted buckwheat groats (or additional shredded coconut)
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp himalayan salt
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed

Filling:
1 1/2 cups raw coconut butter (NOT oil) warmed to liquid
3/4 cup filtered water
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp organic lemon zest
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch sea salt

coconut powdered sugar* (optional)

For the crust, combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until small crumbs and starting to hold together.
Press into an 8x8 inch (or 9x9 inch if you want the bars thinner) pan lined with foil or parchment and oiled with coconut oil (for easy removal).  Set aside in the freezer.
For the filling, whisk together all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Spread out over the prepared crust, and dust with coconut powdered sugar (I like to put it in a fine meshed strainer and tap it over the top of the bars).
Place in the freezer to set, about 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and serve!
Store any extra bars in the refrigerator.

*Buzz 1/4 cup finely shredded dried coconut in a high speed blender for about 15 seconds until it is powder.

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