Meyer Lemon Bar Cookies with Rosemary

In the spirit of baking light and healthier in January here is a reduced fat recipe for lemon bars that is so good you won’t miss the extra calories.  I adapted this lemon bar recipe from another new to me ‘lightened up’ cook book America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2012,  I added finely chopped rosemary to the crust, used Meyer lemons and mixed the zest into the granulated sugar for the filling to pack a bigger lemony punch.  I also used low fat vanilla yogurt instead of whole milk in the crust.  I don’t understand why they call for a tablespoon of whole milk in this recipe, who has whole milk in their kitchen?( especially when trying to eat lighter).  Generally I would say that lemon bars are not safe anywhere near me, so I read the recipes, look at the pictures and drool over them in bakeries- all at a safe distance.  But, I just read that if you walk for one hour a day you can add 200 calories a day to your say 1200 calorie a day diet and still lose weight. These lemon bars weigh in at 190 calories, wow 10 calories to spare!  And they are really good, I gave my husband Scott one after dinner and he wanted another one, sorry only one a day if you walked an hour.  They also have a good herbal flavor from the rosemary which compliments the lemon flavor.  I could write all day but I need to get walking and I think you know why.  The rest of these beauties are packed in a container to be shared later.

Meyer lemons and rosemary are two of my favorites, used in pasta, with chicken, on grilled vegetables brushed with olive oil or just in a bowl to admire on your table.  What would you do with Meyer lemons and rosemary?

Ingredients and Directions for Meyer Lemon Bar Cookies with Rosemary
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2012

For the crust
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits and chilled
1 tablespoon low fat vanilla yogurt

For the filling
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons lemon juice from 2-3 Meyer lemons
1 tablespoon powdered sugar(for dusting on top)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare an 8″ square pan by lightly spraying the inside of the pan with baking spray before lining it with 2 long sheets of aluminum foil folded to fit inside and placed perpendicular to each other in the pan.  Cut the sheets long enough to hang over the sides to use as handles to lift out the baked lemon bars before cutting into squares.  Spray the inside of foil lined pan with baking spray.

Please note- this is an extra step that I think gives the bar a more lemony flavor- in a small bowl mix the lemon zest into the granulated sugar for the filling and set aside.

For the crustprocess the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, rosemary, baking powder and salt until well combined.  Add all the butter and vanilla yogurt to the flour mixture at once and pulse at least a dozen times before turning out into the prepared pan and pressing into an even layer.  See photo below (footprints in the sand!) notice the size of the butter pieces, they can be fairly big and press into a nice buttery but light crust.

Bake until evenly browned about 20 minutes.  Cool the crust on a metal rack for at least 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Prepare the filling by whisking together the eggs, granulated sugar mixed with lemon zest, flour and the salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice and pour over the cooled crust.  Bake until filling is set- about 20 minutes.  Cool completely on a metal rack before lifting the bars out of the pan with the foil.  Cut into 9 squares(190 calories each) and dust with confectioners sugar.
Makes 9 bars

The garden is dry and the mornings are so frosty- I should water and cover my  Meyer lemon tree today!
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  1. I can't resist a good lemon bar and this is a sure winner. I love the addition of rosemary in this!

    Patty, I would never have been able to get my husband to eat just one of these, walk or not. I would have been eating a 2nd one with him!

  2. What would I do if I had three Meyer lemons (I have just one) and rosemary (check, got that)…why, I'd make these today! So beautiful! Thanks for another keeper. :)

  3. Yum, Patty! I love lemon desserts, and this is a sure winner especially with the Rosemary added in.

    As always, your photos are divine!

  4. Wish meyer lemons were more accessible. What a lovely serving you created. Pinning!

  5. I am growing Meyer lemons, but mine are still green and smallish. Can't wait until they are ready! These bars look fantastic – the rosemary is so unexpected on sweets.

  6. Patty, I love that little lemon tree…wish I could grow one in my neck of the woods. Those lemon bars are gorgeous and love the added rosemary. Wow!!

  7. This is so fresh and gorgeous with the contrast of the purple flowers, meyer lemons, and lemon bars! The rosemary is a great addition!

  8. I don't know what is prettier, thsoe bars or the bush! (Lemons are my favorite and those lemon bars are just wow).
    I love using lemon and rosemary in tart dough (with corn flour).

  9. These are absolutely gorgeous. I love the rosemary element. Wow!

  10. Breathtaking photos. Wonderful!

  11. How very beautiful! I made rosemary and apricot squares and it was the first time I had used rosemary in a crust. I loved it and I bet it is so delicious with the tart lemon. My little meyer lemon gave me lemons right before Christmas, so I hope I get some more soon. I am going to underplant it with some pansies like yours!

  12. I wish I could grow lemons! Your little tree is precious. Those lemon bars look lovely too- the flavor combination sounds wonderful. I just love the colors in this post. :)

  13. Patty-your Lemon Bar cookies do look lighter, and love the way you stacked them up on the pretty plate. Gorgeous photos, and superb presentation!
    Would love to have at least one cookie:DDD

  14. Hi Patty Dear,
    I have one more hellish day of work, then I will send you a photo and email about Feb. I'm paying the price for being so busy in Dec. work stacked up out of control. I'm so totally putting a scarf on the porker next year, lol.

    These are stunning, I have to find some more lemons and then I'm making these for sure. I might have to walk two hours to find the lemons, so that should be good I can have two bars!

  15. Awesome dish..I would surely love to give it a try..Thank you so much for posting it..


  16. These bars are beautiful and look sooooo good. I'd like to try your recipe…you did a great job! Beautiful photos.

  17. I adore the combination of lemon and rosemary! I love them in cookies too.
    Those lemon bars look heavenly. Great clicks!

  18. I absolutely need these! I love lemon — in everything. But I can't convince Mr. Rosemary that they're great in desserts. (He needs chocolate and nuts.) And they're light! And they have my name in them!

  19. How lovely and elegant. I enjoy a good lemon bar, but so hard to get meyer lemons. I see the concentrated version and I wonder if I can use that.

  20. Me encantan estas galletas y su combinación,lucen absolutamente bellas y su presentación de 10 espectacular,abrazos y abrazos.

  21. Your photos are mouth-wateringly gorgeous! They make me want to bake up a batch right now!

  22. I just found Meyer lemons – at Super Walmart! What a find, and very inexpensive, I felt like I had won the lottery! Your lemon bars are gorgeous and sound just incredible! Love these photos!

  23. So beautiful, Patty! Love the idea of a bit of rosemary…unique and delicious~

  24. They look so beautiful AND delicious!

  25. Oh Patty, I work out by playing with Bella around the house haha. I agree, tho, about the whole milk. I always use soy milk to whatever a recipe called for milk (pretty much). It's what I have on hands too. At this point, I don't have to compliment about your baked goodie coz it's the reason I keep coming back to your blog!

  26. Your lemon bar cookies are so beautiful, Patty! And I love how one serving is only 190 calories.

    I need a Meyer lemon tree, lol! :)

  27. I love lemon bars and with a few less calories I'll be sure to try these. I like how you substituted yogurt for the milk. I'd probably have to leave out the rosemary since it tends to make my hubby sick.

    I haven't checked out that cookbook yet but love all their recipes and videos. Thanks for sharing.

  28. This looks so amazing – so glad you shared the recipe. I adore lemon treats but like everyone else, feels like I should be trying a bit harder to be healthy at this time of year. I just consumed my own weight in brioche (compliments of Dorie :) and look forward to trying something lightened up a bit. Great job !

  29. Listen, how about you stay on top of my diet and weight and I will take care of the lemon bars. They look amazing! I am jealous.The lemon tree is a must have.

  30. Stunning photos. And I really like your style: In the spirit of eating lighter you bake a lighter lemon bar rather than a salad. Right on!

  31. Patty, I love lemon bars and yours sound so good. Love the addition on the rosemary and the lemon zest. I actually have whole milk in the house, for my baby girl.
    I have to say, i wish I had your hubby's will and not grab a second bar walk or not.

    p.s. I'd love if you could link the recipe to the #citruslove blog hop

  32. These look amazing! Love the flavour combination here. Beautiful photos too :)

  33. I am always in favour of healthier baking, and these look and sound delicious!

  34. Before I ramble on…your photo presentation is absolutely divine Patty…my fingers were resisting the urge to touch the computer screen!

    Now for lighter lemon bars…great idea and also an inspiration for me to make some. Yep, can you imagine that I've never made these or had the pleasure to have a bite either! You see how deprived I've been…sigh ;o)

    Now…for answering your question as to what I'd do with your gorgeous lemons and rosemary: Make a 'confit' with sea salt and sprigs of rosemary macerating in an airtight jar…and then use the softened lemons cut up into future recipes…especially your favourite French ones ;o)

    Have a great weekend,

  35. How beautiful! I love your little lemon tree! I have one in my yard, also in a pot, but not doing so well! These bars sound so delish. I've make lemon bars before but your adding in the rosemary is a fabulous idea!

  36. I feel as if I'm in Provence with your gorgeous styling of the lemon bars and the lemons with rosemary! So fresh, bright, and delicious, Patty!

  37. What a great idea! I love lemon bars, and meyer lemon with rosemary sounds like a great combination!

  38. I'd walk an hour to eat one of them! No probs at all. Be worth every single bite. I'm really enjoying your posts about liter cooking… especially as you're not compromising on taste!

  39. These look so good I can't wait to give them a try. I love the photos also!

  40. Meyer lemons and rosemary are such a beautiful combination, and these bars look amazing! I need to get walking now :)

  41. Beautiful recipe and pictures!

  42. I use lemons or rosemary everyday…and love the combination together. These bars sound and look divine…and I will be trying them soon.

    The rain will be here in a few days to give our gardens a much needed drink. Happy New Year!

  43. I've only ever made lemon bars once. That was in junior high school and they didn't look even a 1/4 as scrumptious as yours. Great photos and healthy recipe. Thanks for participating in the YBR :)

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