CEiMB: Lemon Icebox Bars
Back in December, the CEiMB gang made Ellie’s No Bake Lemon Bars, and somehow I missed out on it. I don’t even understand how I missed the opportunity to partake in one of my all-time favorite desserts, but I did. I managed to make the bars in March when I had some friends over for dinner, and they were a big hit. I took the leftovers to my mom who has been raving about them ever since. Since she enjoyed them so much, I knew they would have to appear at dinner on Mother’s Day.
These are so easy to make, I almost felt bad giving them to my mom as a treat, as if I had gone all out slaving over them for hours to show my appreciation for all the years of love and support she’s given me. I feel like I cheated her because these are just too easy. Way easier than raising me. And my three brothers. I think the thing I like best about these bars is that I made them ahead of time which allowed me to completely focus on finishing up those two big pans of lasagna I was working on most of Sunday afternoon. All the while, the lemon bars were happily tucked away in the fridge.
The first time I made them, I had absolutely no problems with them, and they turned out great. This time, I think I should have added a little water to the graham cracker crust because it didn’t quite set right. It was *very* crumbly, as you can tell from the picture, I’m sure. None of the crust really stuck to the bar, so I ended up sprinkling the graham cracker over the top like a crumb topping. Let’s be honest, whether the graham cracker is on top or bottom, it all tastes the same once it hits your mouth. And you won’t be disappointed.
14 graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)
2 tablespoon melted light butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature
14 ounces fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup pasteurized egg product
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water
Place graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed. Add butter, brown sugar and salt and pulse to incorporate, until crumbs resemble wet sand. Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and pack crumbs firmly into the bottom of it. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the filling:
In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, condensed milk and pasteurized egg product and beat on high with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice and beat until fully incorporated, another 30 seconds. In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and boiling water and whisk until gelatin is entirely dissolved; let cool 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the gelatin into the cream cheese-lemon mixture until well incorporated. Pour the filling over the crust. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, until filling is firm.