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The best lemon bar recipe: A crumbly, delicious Mother’s Day treat

By Natalie Dicks
May 05, 2016
Cooking
lemon_bars.jpg
Growing up, one of my favorite things to do on Mother’s Day was bake my mom a special treat. Usually it was something really basic, but she was always so appreciative! It’s been several years now, and we live thousands of miles apart, but I still like to whip up a little treat each Mother’s Day, one that I know she’d love.
 
My mom and I both have a sweet tooth for lemon desserts. We also love oatmeal cookies and cheesecake. So I thought, why not combine the three? These luscious bars are filled with a tangy, creamy lemon filling that’s sandwiched in between a thick layer of oatmeal streusel. They’re kind of heavenly.
 
The crust is thick, with lots of oats mixed in. It’s not your typical graham cracker crust. It also doubles as the crumb topping, which is great, because it means less time prepping and fewer dirty dishes. That’s always a big bonus in my kitchen. The filling isn’t your typical cheesecake filling either. I used a generous amount of Stonyfield whole milk yogurt instead of heavy cream or sour cream. The creaminess and sweetness of the yogurt perfectly balanced out the tanginess of the lemon juice and zest. If you want to make these even more amazing (aka over the top), try folding in some fresh blueberries to the batter. Trust me! Bake them until the filling is set and the topping is golden brown.
 
Our little family gobbled these up as soon as they had chilled. We enjoyed ours with ice cold milk. They disappeared in just a few days. I know my mom will love them, I can’t wait to make them for her the next time she visits. I hope you’ll give these bars a try- not only are they’re perfect for spring, but they’re a great way to show mom just how much you care. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there!
 
Enjoy!
 
For the crust and topping:
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. kosher sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 c. ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
 
 
For the filling:
1 block (8 oz.) original cream cheese
1/2 c. Stonyfield Whole Milk Yogurt or Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper; set aside.
 
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugars, salt and baking soda. Combine the vanilla and melted butter, then pour into the dry ingredients. Toss mixture until crumbs form. Place half of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, gently press into an even layer. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes.
 
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, yogurt and sugar with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and mix just until combined. In a small bowl whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch. Pour into the bowl along with the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
 
Remove the crust from the oven, pour the filling over top, then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the filling. Return to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Remove and allow to cool at room temperature, then chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Cut into 16 squares.

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