Classic lemon bars get an allergy friendly twist with these Gluten Free Lemon Bars! Our creamy lemon bars with a shortbread cookie crust are also dairy free and egg free as well, and have a vegan option.Gluten free, dairy free, vegan option; Free of: tree nuts (except coconut), dairy, eggs, peanuts
Pinchof yellow natural food color powder, optional**if using the McCormick natural color powder, it doesn't take much yellow powder to color the batch
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the gluten free flour, sugar, and salt (if using).
Stir in the melted dairy free butter and mix with a fork until it looks like crumbs. Press this crumbly mixture into the prepared pan with a fork or spoon until it's pressed evenly into the bottom of the pan.
Bake the shortbread crust in the heated oven for 25 minutes.
While the crust is cooking, prepare the lemon filling.
Add 1 cup of coconut milk to a small saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch, gelatin powder, and powdered sugar until smooth and there are no lumps.
Whisk in the rest of the coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and heat over medium-low heat, whisking regularly, until it thickens (about 10-15 minutes).
If you're making vegan lemon bars, the filling will thicken faster, in about 8 minutes over medium-low heat.
Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture stays smooth as it cools. It should be similar in texture to pudding, but not quite as thick (the vegan filling will be thicker at this point than the gelatin filling).
Putting it all together
Once the crust is done baking, remove it from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
The crust and the filling should both be cooled well before adding the filling onto the crust. It will take about 35 minutes for the filling and crust to cool enough to assemble the bars.
Pour the lemon filling onto the baked crust, smooth it out, and place it in the fridge uncovered until the filling is completely set (about 4 hours). Leaving it uncovered is important to prevent condensation on the top of the bars.
Once the filling has set completely after about 4 hours, take it out of the fridge and leave it at room temp for about 30 minutes before cutting (this makes it easier to cut the shortbread crust).
Once the bars are cut, you can decide if you'd like to keep the lemon bars at room temperature or chilled.
* To make these lemon bars vegan, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon agar powder instead of 1 teaspoon gelatin powder. When you make this with agar, it takes less time to thicken the lemon filling on the stove than with the gelatin mixture.I prefer the texture and taste of the bars made with gelatin than with agar powder, but these still work good when made with agar!** If you don't want to add yellow coloring, you can leave it out. The bars will be white from the coconut milk with flecks of yellow lemon zest in the filling.