I hated lemon for 18 years.
I can’t say why. I tried it in all of its manifestations, and still I couldn’t stomach it. I tried a bit in my tea for a “citrus undertone”… a complete failure. I tried lemonade, but found it cringe-inducingly sweet. I even tried lemon drop candies, but thought they may as well’ve been cough drops.
Then, I had the world’s best lemon square.
The absolute best lemon square ever that I tried was from the Danish Pastry House right near my university. I went there on an impulse, and so I was already feeling whimsical. They had a large glass case full of every imaginable pastry or sweet, but my eyes fell on the ones advertised as “World’s Best Lemon Squares.”
Needless to say, I was skeptical. Not if it was the best in the world, just if I would like it at all, in any capacity. So I got it with my morning quadruple espresso (useful for eclipsing other flavors).
It was amazing, absolutely a delight. Not too tangy, not overly sweet- and the crust! To die for. These bars are modeled after the bliss I experienced. That day, a revelation came over me, a citrus flavored revelation.
I’ve never looked back.
Vegan Lemon Bars
2/3 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup almond meal
3 tb organic dark brown sugar
1 tsp maple extract, or 2 tb maple syrup
Zest of one lemon
5 tb vegan margarine
Combine ingredients in food processor in order listed. Add in margarine last, cut up into 1″ cubes. Pulse until mixture is coarse and crumbly.
Press into 8″ by 8″ pan and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Let cool completely before filling.
(adapted from Baked Bree)
1 package extra firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup light almond milk
A few drops of yellow food dye, for color
1 1/4 cup organic sugar (or coconut sugar)
Zest and juice of 3 lemons
4 tb organic unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
Combine all ingredients except baking powder in food processor until smooth consistency, about a minute. When crust has cooled, add baking powder to filling and pulse, then pour filling over crust. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
When bars have cooled, place in fridge for at least 4 hours, or freeze for one hour and then transfer to fridge for 1-2 hours. Before serving, dust tops with powdered sugar.
My mind has been such a whirlwind lately. It’s like I need twice as much time to process events than the time it takes to actually do things. When I don’t have time to think, it all just builds up and I end up mentally clogged, like a dam near bursting. And it picks the strangest times to all come through, like in a subway car traveling through dark tunnels backwards at 50 mph.
Fun fact: citrus smells literally boost your body’s production of serotonin. So when we say lemons are “bright,” or “sunny,” turns out we’re not too far off. A much needed facet, I think.
Happy (biochemically enhanced) nomming,