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Recipe Doctor: Filling from jar simplifies bars

Wed., June 27, 2007

Q: Dear Recipe Doctor, I bought lime bars at a bakery and would love a light version to make at home. I don’t have the recipe but it did have a crumb topping instead of meringue or powdered-sugar topping.

A: I found a recipe to start off with on that I think will get us the bar you have in mind. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, I used 3/4 cup less-fat margarine plus 2 tablespoons light cream cheese and 2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half. I also used half whole-wheat flour and half Splenda for the sugar in the shortbread bar part.

A jar of lemon or lime curd can be used for the filling. The streusel topping is made from some of the shortbread crust plus some coconut and toasted pecans. These were pretty easy to make since we weren’t making the filling from scratch. Calories were trimmed by 27 percent, fat grams were almost cut in half, and saturated fat decreased from 3.5 grams to less than 1 gram.

Lemon Lime Streusel Bars

If you want to make half a batch, reduce all the ingredients by half and use an 8-by-8-inch or a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.

Original recipe contains 120 calories, 6.2 grams fat, 3.5 grams saturated fat per bar.

3/4 cup less-fat margarine

2 tablespoons light cream cheese

2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half (low fat milk can be substituted)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Splenda (if you don’t want to use Splenda, increase the sugar to 1 cup)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 (10-11 ounce) jar lemon or lime curd

2/3 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces (or chopped pecans)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with canola cooking spray.

Add margarine, cream cheese, and fat-free half-and-half to large mixing bowl and beat on medium until smooth. Add the flours, sugar, Splenda and baking soda all at once to the bowl and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Pat 2/3 of the crumb mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake crust for 10 minutes (no longer) and remove pan from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Spread lemon or lime curd over the baked crust. To the remaining 1/3 of the crumb mixture, stir in coconut and pecans with a fork. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the filling. Bake bars for about 20 minutes (at the 350-degree temperature) or until lightly browned.

Yield: 40 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 88 calories, 3.6 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 35 percent fat calories), 1 gram protein, 13 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 40 milligrams sodium. Weight Watchers POINTS = 2


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