The past couple of weeks I have been on a savory recipe kick. This is mostly due to the fact that I don’t eat sweets, while my mother has also been spending more time baking, which means those treats must get eaten first before I can create a new dessert recipe. Of course, this is fine with me, as it allows me to focus more energy on sharing what I eat in a week, an example being last week’s post of Beef Tongue and Chimichurri. That being said, lemon bars have been something I have wanted to re-create into an Autoimmune Paleo friendly treat for quite some time now. As one of my father’s favorite treats, I knew that he would be the perfect candidate for taste-testing, as he would undoubtedly let me know some way or another that they were not his favorite. That being said, the results were rather remarkable, as everyone, including my mother who is more fond of chocolate treats, loved them immensely. Instead of eggs, I used white Japanese sweet potato, which worked perfectly for a substitute, as it is naturally sweet with no strong “potato” flavor. Therefore, not only did the bars come out super creamy, but my father though they were fantastic, so much so he wanted to go back for more. The crust is based off my Iced Sugar Cookie recipe, of which I simply reduced the amount of maple sugar in. However, if you are looking to make these bars fruit sweetened, using soaked dates would most likely work great for both the crust and filling. As a note for those wondering, I have yet to try and replace the water chestnut flour with anything, and therefore cannot guarantee any substitutions will work. However, I have a feeling that sweet potato, coconut, or tiger nut flour would be fine. Despite the numerous steps noted below, do not be fooled, this recipe is truly much simpler than it appears. In fact, it comes together even easier if you do it in stages, allowing the bars to chill overnight and intensify in flavor. To save energy, I boiled the sweet potato while making my dinner, prepared the crust and filling the next day, allowed them to chill over night, and then served them the next afternoon as my parents sat down for their Sunday cups of coffee. Overall, these lemon squares taste divine, as they are not only delightfully creamy, but they also have a flakey, sugar cookie crust that lends perfectly to the tangy citrus filling, much like a “normal” lemon bar would. Served a long side your favorite beverage, or even to a group of friends, these lemon square are sure to be a hit with everyone, and hey, they can even count for your daily vegetable intake (kidding, of course).
Creamy Lemon Squares
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
(Makes 16-20 squares)
- 3/4 cup tapioca flour
- 3/4 cup water chestnut flour
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated palm shortening
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 cup (12 oz) white Japanese sweet potato
- 1/4 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
- 2 tbsp grass-fed gelatin
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor, pulse together crust ingredients until a smooth dough has formed.
- Scoop dough into a greased, 8 inch square baking dish.
- Wet the back of your spatula and evenly spread the dough to all four corners of the dish, and use a fork to poke holes throughout the crust.
- Place in a preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to brown around the edges.
- Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool while preparing the filling.
- While the crust is cooling, peel and chop sweet potato into 1 inch chunks.
- Place sweet potato in a small sauce pan filled with water, boiling the potato chunks until fork tender (10 minutes).
- While the sweet potato is cooking, prepare gelatin egg by sprinkling the gelatin over the 1/4 cup water in a shallow bowl.
- Once the sweet potatoes are finish cooking, drain, pat dry, and place in the food processor, along with the maple sugar, lemon juice, and sea salt.
- Blend filling until smooth, then add in gelatin mixture, allowing to mix until fully incorporated.
- Scoop filling onto the prepared crust, spreading to all four corners in an even layer.
- Place baking dish back in the oven and allow it to bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove bars from the oven and allow to cool completely, then place the dish in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 3 hours (or) overnight.
- Once chilled, remove from fridge, slice into desired squares, and enjoy!
To make fully fruit sweetened, replace the maple syrup and maple sugar with soaked and pureed medjool dates to taste (anywhere from 12-18 dates total).
If making 1/2 of a recipe, simply use a loaf pan instead of an 8×8 square pan.
These look amazing! Can’t wait to try them!
Colleen Sarantakis says
i think this is my new favorite blog!
You are too nice 🙂
Where do you find Japanese white sweet potato? is it different than regular white sweet potato?
Japanese sweet potatoes are different from regular in that they are white, and a bit starchier than the typical orange variety. I usually get mine at Whole Foods, though they can also be found at ethnic markets or sometimes Stop and Shop if you’re lucky!
If you can get to a Kroger chain grocery, they carry them in the organics.
Is there a substitute to maple sugar?
You can use any granulated sugar – coconut, date, cane, brown…I am unsure how all liquid sweeteners would change the texture.
Is there a suitable substitute for the water chestnut flour? Could a different anti-grain flour be used?
I have not made them using any flour aside from water chestnut…An anti-grain flour may result in a very different texture. I am sorry I could not be of more help!
I LOVE these bars but I did sub the chestnut flour with arrowroot flour. I also subed the maple syrup with coconut nectar. And they turned out fabulous!!! The next time I make this I am going to make extra crust to crumble over the top too.
So glad to hear, your adaptions sound delicious 🙂
I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while and finally decided to make good. They would have been perfect had I GREASED THE BAKING DISH!!! I practically used a hammer and chisel to remove them from the baking dish. It could be I compacted the dough too much prior to cooking and I also overcooked the crust a little. Despite all that, they were delightfully devourable, and I can’t wait to make another attempt. Maybe I can even find some white sweet potatoes! Thank you so much for sharing your cooking and baking talents!
We make these every week. They are one of our favorites. Even all the kids friends love them. We love lemon, so we also add the lemon zest.
michelle v says
Hi–I love everything you do and am so impressed. I am trying to get the word out: Spectrum is not sustainable as they say. They hide behind the RSPO standards which have been called out on greenwashing. I challenge you to educate others and start using lard. It’s just as good. You can read about it here:
To Michelle V
Where have you found all natural raised pig lard? No grains etc fed to them? I would love to know of a source.
I am pretty sure US Wellness Meats provides what you are looking for. I get mine from an Amish farm!
Can these be made with regular sweet potatoes? I doubt I’ll ever find the japanese kind here in Norway!
You may be able to! It’ll definitely change the color, and there may be a bit more sweet potato taste, but I still think it would work!
Antonia Davison says
Hi there do you need to peel the japanese sweet potato or do you just put the whole things in to the blender, skins and all? Thank you!
Definitely peel the sweet potato.
Love this recipe, thank you so much! Now I finally know what to do with that box of water chestnut flour in my cupboard..:-) However, in my country (the Netherlands) we don’t have palm shortening/or any shortening..Is there a substitute I could use? Like plain coconut oil – which I would prefer, or as a second option, ghee? or is there something specific to the shortening that these other products lack? Any recommendations would be highly appreciated! X, Sarah
Thank you for the lovely recipe. I have a question about the gelatin. When I sprinkled 2 tbsp of gelatin over 1/4 cup of water is turned into a solid lump. Did I do something wrong? I was thinking it should be more of an egg like texture? Thanks for the help.
Instead of mixing the water and gelatin separately, I just mixed everything together in the food processor. Worked great & less steps.
You must use small lemons. It only took 2 large lemons to make 1/2 c juice. Had anyone tried this with plantains? I was tempted because I have some plantains starting to yellow.
Hi! If you have reintroduced egg successfully, would an egg replace the geletin egg okay? Thanks!