Vegan Strawberry Lemonade Bars

  

I have always been a fan of tart sweet lemon desserts, especially things involving lemon curd like lemon bars!  I saw some lemon bars on Instagram that someone had recently made and it reminded me of how delicious they are and how much I love them!  So I decided to make a lemon bar recipe that I have made in the past, but make it even better by adding in some strawberries to make them Vegan Strawberry Lemonade Bars!  Strawberries and lemon make me think of spring after all and it definitely feels like spring here now!  I am still waiting for the flowering trees and lilacs to start blooming here but it is exciting to see the trees sprouting leaves again! 

 

They have a simple shortbread crust that just melts in your mouth.  It just has vegan butter, powdered sugar, flour, vanilla and sea salt.  You just mix it together, press it into the pan and bake it.  The filling for these bars does not get baked, just the crust.  So you can be starting on the filling while you make the crust.  If you wanted to make the crust gluten free, you can swap Bob's Red Mill all purpose gluten free baking flour for the whole wheat pastry flour.  I have used this flour and it works well. 

For the filling, I used a combo of lemon juice (with plenty of zest for flavor), strawberry jam and coconut cream to make this rich instead of the butter you sometimes find in lemon bar filling. I sweetened it with maple syrup and thickened it with cornstarch.  This filling is really easy to make, you just whisk it all together and cook it on the stove. It comes together pretty quickly.  I had a sample before pouring it over the crust and it was so delicious even before it had a chance to cool.

I gave these a little dusting of powdered sugar and a touch of lemon zest to make them pretty and I could not wait to try them!  They turned out so delicious!  The perfect balance of tart and sweet with a luscious smooth filling scented with strawberries, lemon and vanilla on a buttery crust!  I shared some with my Mom who is also a big lemon bar fan, and she said they were excellent!  If you are a lemon fan definitely give these Vegan Strawberry Lemonade Bars a try!

Vegan Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Makes 16

Crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 oz Earth Balance Vegan Butter or other vegan butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

 

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 Tbsp strawberry Jam
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut cream
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

For Topping:

  • powdered sugar

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees, and line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper (so that it goes up the sides too).
  2. To make the crust, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until combined with a wooden spoon, then press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  3. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Remove from oven.
  4. To make the filling, combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, except the vanilla extract, and whisk to dissolve the cornstarch. Place on the stove over medium heat, whisking constantly until it is starting to thicken. When it starts to thicken cook for a minute or two, until it is thickened to the consistency of pudding, then whisk in the vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the filling over the prepared crust, and let cool completely, then refrigerate for a few hours until completely chilled.
  6. Dust the tops of the bars with powdered sugar by putting it in a fine meshed strainer and tapping it over them.
  7. Cut into 16 bars.

 

Store any extra bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

*If you wanted to make these gluten free, you could use Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose baking flour instead of the pastry flour.

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