After Thanksgiving, people crave light treats that will make them feel refreshed, in contrast to the fullness they may have felt over the holiday.
These Lemon Walnut Bars are perfect, because owing to the lemon they taste refreshing, and the addition of oats gives them the slightest tone of healthfulness.
But don't worry--they're not actually healthy. With creamy sweetened condensed milk and plenty of butter, rest assured, these are definitely dessert.
I had a brief love affair with the lemon crumb bars sold at Tully's Coffee Shops in Seattle a few years ago--they certainly weren't fancy, they were made by a commercial bakery in the area and wouldn't be what I would consider "artisan". But there was something about the tart-sweet lemon filling paired with a streusel-like topping that had me hooked.
So when I saw a recipe for Lemon Walnut Bars in the new cookbook Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery (also the source of this fab marshmallow recipe), I knew I had to try it.
Seriously, this recipe is a classic. It's like the bars I so loved at Tully's, but tastier since they were baked fresh. The filling is tart with lemon but so smooth and creamy with the sweetened condensed milk, which makes it almost like a key lime pie filling, but with lemon. The sweet-salty streusel has all of these notest that work well with the lemon: brown sugar, coconut, walnuts, and oats--which make it also slightly crunchy, and a perfect texture complement to the creaminess. I promise, if you love lemon bars and you love crumb cake, you will adore these squares. You won't be able to stop eating them.
Lemon Walnut Bars
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup large flake rolled oats
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (dark)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup ground walnuts
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
- In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, coconut, walnuts, and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and mix until the butter is evenly distributed. Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared pan, and press it in firmly. If you wanna, line the bottom with a strip of parchment to make for easy removal later.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the consensed milk and lemon uice until thick and combined. Pour the mixture over the base. Use the back of a spoon or spatula to make sure it's an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the filling.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes or until golden on top.
- Remove from oven and cool completely into the pan. Run a knife along the edges of the pan. Cut into bars.