I’m sure at least a few of you are thinking that lemon bars are not exactly ground-breaking material. But, these are not your typical lemon bars. No, these are far better. They’re like lemon bars for grown-ups.
I found this recipe in the latest issue of one of my favorite magazines, Taste of the South. It just sounded so summer-y that I knew I had to make it. These almost qualify as no-bake, with only the crust getting any oven time.
That crust is a perfect complement to all that lemon flavor in the filling. It is quite buttery and also has a good helping of hazelnuts and ginger. I am pretty sure that this is the first thing I’ve ever baked using ginger. I’m generally not a fan, but either my tastes have changed or it just doesn’t come through as a strong flavor.
As for the lemon component, well, there’s a lot of it. It will just about fill a standard 9″x 13″x 2″ pan all the way to the top. All that lemon is mixed in with some very good things like cream cheese and mascarpone. Yeah, grown-up lemon bars indeed.
These bars couldn’t be more perfect for summer. They are light and smooth and just plain delicious. If you’re feeding a crowd, these are just the thing. The original recipe suggests cutting these into 18 bars (!!!), but I preferred smaller bars about 1 & 1/2-inches square.
A creamy, dreamy, cool filling makes these Lemon Icebox Bars perfect for summer parties!
For the crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped (or ground) hazelnuts
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
For the lemon filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
28 ounces sweetened condensed milk
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons)
6 tablespoons boiling water
1 packet (about 1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin
To make the crust:
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9"x 13"x 2" baking pan with aluminum foil so that foil overhangs about 2 inches on short sides.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until creamily. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour, hazelnuts, ginger, and salt. Mix well. Mix in egg yolk.
Press crust mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely on wire rack.
To make the filling:
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until creamy. Add mascarpone, beating until combined. Add condensed milk, beating until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until thick and smooth.
Combine boiling water and gelatin in a small bowl. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
Add gelatin mixture to lemon mixture. Beat well. Pour filling onto cooled crust. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
Use foil overhang to lift bars carefully from pan. Cut into bars.
Cover and store in refrigerator for 3 days.
If you have help, I suggest lining pan with another piece of foil that overhangs the long sides of the pan. Then, with some help, the delicate bars can be lifted from all 4 sides.
26 Comments on “Lemon Icebox Bars”
these are beautiful!
love this girl!
going to include this with my “friday links” roundup!
So pretty! No bake lemon bars sound perfectly summery.
These sound fabulous! Yum!
These look wonderful! A light and summery version of a lemon bar!
I love it’s so delicious!
Ohh they look and sound fantastic! Totally making them! 🙂
Ohhh, I love lemon bars, and these, with the your tangy/creamy additions, sound absolutely amazing!
I am Mina and I am Greek. For almost 2 years, read your site with “reverence”. I love cream cheese and chocolate. I like the combination of materials you use and the selection of recipes from other bake lovers. Choosing the right recipe, I believe is talent.
Although occasionally I “cheated” on you with other bloggers, you’re my favorite. I am addicted.
In Greece we use the metric system, and my big question is how many grams is one cup of flour? I have searched on many blogs and websites to find the right answer and what I came, is that, the American Cup is very flexible. It can accommodate from 120 to 150 grams of flour.
The Cup Problem and the difference in flour in two countries, has destroyed several recipes for me. Can you solve the Cup Problem? How many grams is 1 cup all-purpose flour, and 1 cup sifted cake flour, that you use?
Thanks a lot for your help and for your recipes.
Mina, I replied to your Facebook message earlier this week. Please let me know if you didn’t get my response.
Hello! This is my first time reading your blog and I am just amazed by all of the recipes you chose to include; they all look so delicious! Also, your photographs definitely present a home-made feel that I think is great. I am new to baking, but I hope to make the Lemon Ice-Box Bars this weekend for my boyfriend. He is a big fan of lemon bars and I know he will like these too! Thanks for sharing!
I am planning on making these today but the eggs in the filling are making me nervous. Is it really ok to just use regular eggs since they don’t get cooked?
Marianne, it’s very rare to have any problems using raw eggs, but it is easy to take some precautions. First of all, use eggs that are fresh and have no visible cracks. The shell actually helps keep the eggs from getting contaminated. So, unless you can break the eggs without the shell touching the inside, just wash the eggs before you break them. And, of course, keep these refrigerated. Enjoy!
Thanks so much for getting back to me. Every recipe of yours that I’ve made has been a huge hit…..I’m sure these will be too.
Have a great day!
Hi, I made these this last weekend… and they were very well liked. Thank you for the recipe. My only comment about it is that the raw egg content in it concerns me, and I normally don’t mind consuming raw eggs, but I felt like there was just so much of it and stupid me, I didn’t really figure this out until I actually sat down and read the recipe just before making. Anyway, thank you very much for this.. regardless of my concerns, I had a wonderful response from these bars! Oh, I should also mention that instead of hazelnuts, I replaced it with some desiccated coconut in the crust and baked it off, worked just fine. Thank you!
This is my first time viewing your website and I’m very impressed with your recipes, the feedback from others and your kind response to questions. You are to be commended on your talent and thoughtfulness!
Has anyone tried making these with agar agar as a sub for gelatin? I want to make them for work but I have quite a few vegetarians that eat eggs but gelatin is definitely a no. (I do have one guy who doesn’t eat eggs either but one step at a time!) 🙂
Melissa, I’ve not used agar agar before, so I can’t help you with much confidence. If you try it, let me know how it works.
I have a problem with the recipe. Some words are on top of other words. Can you tell me if any others have had this happen. I would like to make they sound great.
Trena, what browser are you using? Do you see the same issues when you click the Print button?
Hello. So I’ve made these twice now and they have come out soupy both times. The first time I did it I thought I just didn’t let it sit long enough in the fridge but I let the most recent batch sit overnight and they are still soupy. Wahh! They taste SO good and they look so pretty in the picture but for some reason my gelatin doesn’t seem to be incorporating. I even added extra this time. Help?
Hi, Carolyn. There are several possible reasons for your gelatin troubles. Make sure you’re adding it to boiling water. After mixing with water, you need to use it after 5 minutes. It’s possible that because of the ambient temperature or what the water/gelatin is mixed in or sitting on is causing it to cool too quickly. If all else fails, you could try putting the finished bars into the freezer initially for 20-30 minutes and then move them to the refrigerator.
This recipe sounds soo good I am planning on making some now…not waiting for summer. Lol.. One question, can this recipe be made with a simple graham cracker crust and if so will it take away from the flavor in any way?
Hi, Vicki. Switching the crust will take away the nut and ginger flavors. They’ll still be tasty, just a little different flavor profile
Just made the Lemon Icebox Bars and served them to a friend and my sister. Yummy! These are terrific an wil be added to my treasured list of recipes. Thanks for this great recipe.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Arlene!