Recipe Makeover: Lemon Bars

Traditional lemon bars are loaded with butter, eggs, and sugar, resulting in a high-calorie, high-fat treat. We gave this dessert a facelift that reduces calories by more than 50 percent and cuts back the fat by two-thirds. Here’s how we did it.

Reduce the amount of butter used in the crust.

Eliminate the cream cheese from the crust.

Reduce the amount of sugar in the topping.

Increase the amount of lemon juice and lemon zest for added flavor.

Nutritional comparison

This recipe serves: 16


¼ cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

½ cup all-purpose flour

3 large eggs

¾ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Cooking instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

2. Beat the ¼ cup of confectioners' sugar and butter on medium speed until creamy.

3. Gradually add the ½ cup of flour and mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan.

4. Bake until just golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Lower the oven temperature to 325° F.

5. Whisk the eggs on medium speed until foamy. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of flour, baking powder, and salt and combine.

6. Pour the mixture over the baked crust and bake until set, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

7. Cut into 16 squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.

Serving Size: 1 square

Nutritional information

Calories 67

Carbohydrate 16 g

Fat 2 g

Fiber 0 g

Protein 2 g

Saturated Fat 1 g

Sodium 46 mg