Vegan Lemon Bars: Just Meh

20 Jan

I really just want to cut to the chase with these, so minimal story telling. Amanda and I made Vegan Lemon Bars from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, while they were an adventure, they frankly were a little disappointing. Here’s how it went:

I gathered the ingredients at Central Market: Meyer lemons (no where near as beautiful or tasty as ones from my mom’s tree, but we just had a big freeze), arrowroot powder, and agar agar – a whopping $89.99/lb, so I marked it as garlic granules and got the amount I needed for about a quarter. This recipe has two parts: making the crust and making the filling. The crust was easy, toss some flour, powdered sugar, and dairy-free margarine into a food processor and pulse until mealy, then press into a 9×13 pan and bake. The filling, on the hand, was another story.

We had never used agar agar, and actually had powder as opposed to flaked like the recipe called for, so ours thickened up straight away when added to water in a pot. It was sitting there waiting while the crust baked, and got really thick, so we added about a tablespoon or so more water, and once the crust came out, threw in the arrowroot, lemon juice, and zest, along with a prodigious amount of sugar. Once that had dissolved, we poured it into the crust and let it set in the freezer for maybe an hour, being generous. We were impatient!!

Well, they were beautiful – perfectly flat and even and easily cut. The crust was pretty yummy, albeit greasy – I’d say cut down on the not-butter by a couple tablespoons (it took a whole cup!). But the filling, it was this firm jello-like consistency, and not very lemony. It needed a lot more lemon flavor and zing to be a successful lemon bar, regardless of the texture of the filling. I’d never had a lemon bar, so I don’t really know what they’re supposed to taste like. I imagined them to be nice and tart, with a little of that being cut by the crust. These were sweet with a little bit of lemon flavor and a lot of crust. They were better with some powdered sugar dusted on top, but I don’t think we’ll be making these again. My dad threw these out without even having my mom taste them. Maybe it’s just because we’re dairy and egg folk.

So long story short, unless you are vegan, stick to regular lemon bars and switch out the butter for not-butter if your tummy is anti-dairy. But if you’re vegan, I bet you will dig these, just add more lemon juice and zest! Yes. That is my Shun knife.

Tomorrow: the pie that made me not hate key lime pie.

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