Wednesday, December 30, 2009

CEiMB: No-Cook Lemon Bars

Thanks to Amy from Playing House for choosing Ellie Krieger's No-Cook Lemon Bars for this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe.  Ellie lightens up this dessert by using reduced-fat cream cheese, fat-free sweetened condensed milk, Egg Beaters, and whole-grain graham crackers.  Adding the gelatin allows the bar to set.  If you have never used unsweetened gelatin, it's super easy.  All you have to do is mix the gelatin powder with boiling water.  Once it cools for a couple of minutes you simply add it to the cream cheese batter.

I would recommend this recipe if you enjoy cream cheese as a base in your desserts.  For being a "lighter" version I couldn't really taste the difference. 

I've included the recipe below, but here are some tips that may be useful when you are making this:
  • Buy at least 4 lemons -- I only bought 3 and I barely managed to squeeze out 1/2 cup
  • After you chill the bars for 8 hours, throw the whole dish in the freezer for an hour or so -- this will make the bars easier to cut / hold their shape
  • Save some extra lemon zest for the top -- Ellie doesn't recommend this, but I think these bars would be even better dusted with a little powdered sugar and lemon zest on top

No-Cook Lemon Bars
So Easy, Ellie Krieger
(serves 16)

If you love cheesecake and you love lemon, you will double-love these delicious bars.  They have a velvety, cream cheese filling with just the right citrus kick and that crave-able classic graham cracker crust.  All that and you don't even need an oven to make them.

14 whole-grain graham cracker squares (7 full sheets)
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1 - 8oz. package Neufchatel cheese (reduced-fat cream cheese), softened at room temperature
1 - 14oz. can fat-free sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup pasteurized egg product (such as Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
3 tablespoons boiling water

Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until crumbs are formed.  Add the butter, brown sugar, and salt, and pulse until crumbs resemble wet sand.  Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and pack the crumbs firmly into the bottom of it.  Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, condensed milk, and pasteurized egg product and beat on high with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the lemon juice and zest and beat until fully incorporated, another 30 seconds.  In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and boiling water and whisk until the gelatin is entirely dissolved; let cool for 2 to 3 minutes.  Using a spoon, stir the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture until incorporated.  Pour the filling over the crust.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  Slice into 2-inch squares using a chilled knife coated with cooking spray.


  1. Hi Alyssa! Thanks for making these along with me this week. I hope you liked them. Have a happy new year!

  2. Those look perfect. These were pretty tasty.

  3. Yum! We thought this was a great dessert. So refreshing and light.

  4. I didn't make these this week, but yours sure look great.

  5. I only had one lemon and had to supplement with bottled juice...couldn't really tell a difference though.

    Looks great!

  6. Rachel, good to know that bottled lemon juice tasted no different.

    Thanks for the comments everyone!