If you live for zest, you’ll LOVE these dreamy lemon bars. Created with cashews, almonds, oats, coconut, honey, and a whole lotta lemon, this vegan & gluten-free recipe adapted from The Minimalist Baker is a delight to both prepare and eat!
Not only are these treats pretty on the plate, they’re also packed with vitamin C, which is a tried-and-true free radical neutralizer—thanks to all those lemons and our Philosophie Berry Bee Honey! (You don’t want any pesky radicals hanging around in your body since they can damage blood vessels and alter cholesterol to make it more susceptible to building up in your artery walls.)
The cashews and almonds add some lovely nuttiness and also make the bar quite filling (so they can double as a guilt-free, dessert-like breakfast bar), while the coconut contributes a luscious velvety texture, along with heart-healthy fats.
Since these bars do require some time for cashew soaking, baking, cooling (and potentially dehydrating), definitely save this recipe for a day when you can queue up a classic Spotify playlist, light your favorite soy candle, and bliss out in the kitchen with your loved ones.
FOR THE FILLING
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut cream (the hardened portion at the top of full fat coconut milk)
2 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch (optional to thicken)
½ cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
1 heaping tbsp lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup Berry Bee Honey
, plus more to taste (maple syrup or coconut nectar would be good too!)
2 tbsp organic powdered sugar, for topping (optional)
dehydrated lemon slices (optional)
FOR THE CRUST
1 cup gluten-free oats
1 cup almonds or almond meal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tbsp coconut sugar or Berry Bee Honey
4-5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Add raw cashews to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let rest for 1 hour uncovered, then drain thoroughly. If you have more time, you can also soak overnight in cool filtered water.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8”x8” inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Add oats, almonds, and sea salt to a high-speed blender and mix on high until you have a fine meal.
Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add Berry Bee Honey and melted coconut oil, starting with 4 tablespoons and adding more coconut oil, if it's too dry. Stir with a spoon to combine until a loose dough is formed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling. If it’s too dry, add a bit more melted coconut oil.
Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Then place parchment paper on top and use a flat-bottomed object, such as a drinking glass, to press down firmly until it’s evenly distributed and well-packed.
Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 degrees and bake for 5-8 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface. Remove from oven to cool slightly, then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
Once the cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high speed blender with the coconut cream, arrowroot starch, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and Berry Bee Honey. Mix on high until very creamy and smooth.
Taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added a bit more lemon zest! It should be very lemony, and not overly sweet.
Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges look slightly dry and the center appears “giggly” but not liquidy.
Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely (uncovered)—at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, slice and sift with powdered sugar (optional). Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, up to 4 days (though it’s best within the first 2 days!). Add dehydrated lemons when ready to serve.