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Low Fat Lemon Squares with Walnut Crust

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I’m going nuts! Actually, everyone is. I made some low fat lemon squares for Sugar High Friday #4: Let’s Go Nuts!

These lemon squares are from a book called Healthy Homestyle Desserts by Evelyn Tribloe that I picked up at a secondhand book store for $4 and chose not only beacuse the title was appealing, but the book is filled with great pictures. I made these over the holidays as a somewhat lighter alternative to chocolate and cookies. I hope my picture will tempt you to try these.
There is no butter in the crust, instead a buttermilk and oil are added. The recipe also called for using egg substitute, but I used egg whites and one whole egg instead. I also lightly toasted my chopped walnuts. I’ve included the nutritional information from the cookbook, but there is probablya bit more fat from that egg yolk (though probably a negligible amount as the information is per bar).
The great thing (besides the taste) about this recipe is that it takes an hour from start to finish, though your unburned taste buds will probably thank you if you wait for them to cool before digging in!

Low Fat Lemon Squares with Walnut Crust

Crust:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (lightly toasted, preferably)

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest and the walnuts. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and oil, then drizzle it into the flour mixture. Cut in using a fork until combined, then press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown on the edges.

While that is baking, prepare the topping.

 

Lemon Topping:

2 egg whites and 1 whole egg

2 tbsp flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tbsp lemon zest

3 tbsp lemon juice (one medium/large lemon)

1/4 tsp baking powder

 

 

Combine all ingredients in order listed and beat on high for 2 minutes with an electric mixer, until throughly combined. Pour over the baked layer and put the whole thing in the oven for an additional 20 minutes, until the center of the lemon topping is set.

Let it cool in the pan.

Slice into bars (recipe suggests 20, but I made 25 slightly smaller ones) and top with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar.

Nutritional information per bar: 86 calories, 2 grams fat (19% calories from fat); keep in mind that just about all the fat is healthy fat, from vegetable oil and walnuts. Now that is something to get nuts over.

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11 Comments
  • Zarah Maria
    January 7, 2005

    Fantastic picture! Can’t wait to see the recipe!

  • Nic
    January 8, 2005

    Thanks, Zarah! I hope the recipe will live up to the expectations.

  • Cathy
    January 9, 2005

    Oh these look good! I think I would have trouble eating just one teeny bar, though!

  • Anonymous
    January 10, 2005

    These squares look absolutely delicious, Nicole! I have been looking for a lower-fat lemon square and this one might just do the trick for a friend’s party!

    Thanks so much for joining in once again with Sugar High Fridays…and all the way from Australia no less! That’s true food blog dedication!

    Jennifer – http://www.domesticgoddess.ca

  • Nic
    January 10, 2005

    Thanks Cai and Jennifer!
    I think that my friends thought I had lost it a bit when I started looking for a computer to use to publish my post (“You want how much per hour?” “What do you mean you won’t let me upload pictures!”). But all’s well that ends well, I think.

  • Emily
    January 10, 2005

    wow these look fantastic.. and it’s just a bonus that it’s low-fat. thanks for sharing!

  • Amie
    April 1, 2009

    I wonder how leavening would benefit the topping….?

  • dee
    September 3, 2010

    I just made these, admittedly with a 2/3 less sugar. But there was so little filling it did not even cover the crust. I don’t think adding back the sugar would have added that much to the depth of the filling.

  • Nicole
    September 4, 2010

    Dee – Sugar and eggs make up the bulk of this filling, so reducing the sugar by such a large percent would definitely have a noticeable impact on the amount of filling. True, it’s not an extremely deep filling, but I think using the full amount might produce a better result.

  • Rose
    July 5, 2013

    Some recipes become classic because they just nail the right amount of taste, texture, etc. I do not believe that this will be one of them, unfortunately. The crust was the most disappointing. It was hard and did not meld at all with the lemon filling. The lemon filling was OK, but nothing special. I’ll just stick with Betty Crocker’s recipe for lemon squares and add a little lemon zest.

  • […] These lemon squares are low fat, and pretty good. I think I messed up the crust though, because I used 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice to “fake” the buttermilk. If I make it again, I would probably just use a different crust entirely. I took the recipe from Baking Bites […]

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