Creamy Dreamy Vegan Lemon Bars

Lemon bars. They’re the creamy delight that have long been fondly missed by sweet-toothed vegans everywhere. Until now! This recipe will offer you the refreshing and indulgent bite that is both vegan and gluten free! These bars boast a cheesecake-like texture and flavor that isn’t overly sweet. The surprisingly healthy dessert is the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea or the ideal treat for ladies lunches or family gatherings.

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut cream* (the hardened portion at the top of full-fat coconut milk)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 heaping Tbsp lemon zest
1 pinch sea salt
1/4 cup maple syrup (plus more to taste)

1. Add raw cashews to a mixing bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let rest for 1 hour then drain thoroughly.
While the nuts soak, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8×8 inch baking dish with baking paper.
2. Add oats, almonds, sea salt, and coconut sugar to a blender and mix on high until you have a fine meal. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add maple syrup and melted coconut oil, add more if the texture is too dry. Stir with a spoon to combine until a loose dough is formed. You should be able to squeeze the mixture between two fingers and form a dough instead of it crumbling.
3. Transfer mixture to parchment-lined baking sheet and spread evenly. Firmly press down on the mix with the back of a wooden spoon or glass until it’s firmly packed.
4. Bake for 15 minutes, then increase heat to 375 F (190 C) and bake for 5-8 minutes more, or until the edges are golden brown and there is some browning on the surface.
5. Once cashews are soaked and drained, add to a high speed blender with coconut cream, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt, and maple syrup. Mix on high until creamy and smooth.Taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added a bit more lemon zest and maple syrup.
6. Pour filling over the pre-baked crust and spread into an even layer. Tap on counter to remove any air bubbles.
Bake for 20-23 minutes or until the edges look very slightly dry and the center appears “jiggly” but not liquidy.
7. Let rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to let cool completely (uncovered) – at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. They will keep in the fridge for a week or can be frozen for up to a month.
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