A Taste of Summer
Vermont is well known for its vibrant fall foliage and snow-filled winters, and since those two seasons take up nearly seven months of the year, it’s easy to see why. But the rest of the year is filled with some pretty spectacular weather that doesn’t get nearly as much hype. Springtime in Vermont is full of lush greenery and blooming flowers and summertime has picture-perfect blue skies, sunshine, and temperatures that get a little warmer than you might expect for a New England state–even into the 90s!
If temperatures creeping into the 90s means you aren’t turning on your oven, but still have a sweet tooth to satisfy, then you’ll love these no-bake creamy lemon bars. These little bars are quick and easy to make, full of sweet and zingy lemon flavor–perfect for a refreshing treat on a hot summer’s day. Here’s how to make them:
For the Crust:
- 10 full sheet graham crackers or one 6 oz. box of our Cookie Buttons (1 ½ cups graham cracker/cookie crumbs)
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted
For the Lemon Bar Cheesecake Filling:
- 3 oz. box lemon gelatin
- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 8 oz. tub non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
- 3 Tbs. lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
- ¼ cup lemon juice (from 1 to 2 large lemons)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Grind the Cookie Buttons or graham crackers in a food processor. Add the melted butter and brown sugar and pulse to combine until you have a crumbly, wet sand-like mixture.
- Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan. (Take care to pack the edges down firmly to help keep the bars from crumbling at the edges when serving. We like to use a flat measuring cup.)
- Chill the crust for at least 2 hours while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Place lemon gelatin in a medium-size bowl. Stir in one cup boiling water; mix until dissolved.
- Cool the gelatin in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, or just until it thickens.
- While the gelatin thickens in the fridge, combine the cream cheese and sour cream and mix with a hand or stand mixer or by hand until completely smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar and zest mixture, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Gently fold in the whipped topping with a spatula.
- Gently fold the cooled lemon gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Be gentle, but be sure to mix thoroughly.
- Taste the filling and add more lemon juice or lemon zest to taste. Keep in mind, the lemon flavor will continue to develop as these bars set.
- Pour the filling over the crust and smooth with a spatula to the edges of the pan.
- Refrigerate until set, about 30 to 60 minutes.
- Cut into bars.
- To serve, dust the lemon bars lightly with powdered sugar and top with a thin slice of lemon, if desired.
If you make these bars, we’d love to see how they came out! Tag us on Instagram @vermontcountrystore and let us know what you think!