Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars: These simple baked dessert bars are gluten-free and use Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour for the crust! The bars are bright, fruity, tangy, and so very addictive. The recipe uses real lemons and cherries! #spons | macheesmo.com
Sweet Stuff

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. They make a huge range of quality products including the Almond Flour I used for this post. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for lots of fun recipe ideas. For a limited time, you can snag a $1 off coupon for their products!

There’s a certain person in my life who I love dearly (okay, it’s my Mom) who has what I like to think of as a part-time gluten intolerance. Will she eat a really delicious homemade pasta dish I make? Yes. But, in general, she feels better if she sticks with mostly gluten-free foods.

She’s coming to visit during this Easter weekend to see her rapidly growing grandson and I thought I’d surprise her with a truly gluten-free Easter treat. It took me a few attempts to figure out these lemon cherry swirl bars. I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour for the crust (and a little in the filling) which worked so well. Plus, I used real lemons and cherries. No artificial business in these guys.

I honestly think they are better than a gluten-filled variation of the same recipe. The crust is perfectly tender, but holds up surprisingly well to the filling.

They are a little work, sure. But definitely worth it, especially for a special occasion like a Mom visit!

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars: These simple baked dessert bars are gluten-free and use Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour for the crust! The bars are bright, fruity, tangy, and so very addictive. The recipe uses real lemons and cherries! #spons | macheesmo.com

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Just a moment please...

Yield
12 bars
Prep Time
Total Time

Gluten-free and made with real lemons and cherries. Tangy, bright fruit flavors with just enough sweetness.

Ingredients

Crust:

2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Lemon Custard:

1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3)
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Cherry Swirl:

1 1/2 cups dark cherries, thawed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water
Powdered sugar, garnish
Lemon zest, garnish
Print Recipe     Pin Recipe

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine almond meal, brown sugar, and salt. Whisk together and then stir in melted butter. Stir until combined.

2) Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil for easy removal and press the almond meal crust into the foiled pan, working it up the edges a bit. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

3) For the lemon filling, zest and juice 2-3 lemons and whisk together all ingredients until well combined. Make sure the cornstarch isn’t clumped together.

4) When crust is done baking, pour in lemon filling and return to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

5) While lemon bars are baking, chop thawed cherries finely. Add to a small pot with juice from cherries and sugar. Bring to a simmer, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken. Mash cherry mixture as it simmers with a fork. Then add cornstarch + water mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

6) When lemon bars come out of the oven, scoop over cherry swirl topping and use a knife to gently swirl it into the bars.

7) Let lemon bars cool to room temperature. Then cover them with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least a few hours (or overnight).

8) When ready to serve, remove bars from the pan by lifting out the foil. Peel foil down from the sides of the bars and chop them into 12 even pieces. Dust bars with powdered sugar and extra lemon zest.

Store extra bars in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Making the Crust

This is similar to a graham cracker crust, but is actually easier to make. No cracker crunching necessary!

I really recommend Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour if you want to try this. It’s very high quality ground almonds.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars crust

I love this stuff.

Mix in the sugar and salt and then pour in the melted butter. It’ll almost have the consistency of cookie dough when it’s done.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Mix it up.

To finish the crust, you need to bake it before you add the filling or it will be too mushy. Line an 8×8 baking dish with foil for easier removal later and then press in the crust. I just used my fingers to work it into the edges and up the sides a bit. Try to make it as even as possible, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Easy crust!

Bake the crust at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes until it’s browned and set in place.

The Lemon Bar Filling

Please. Please! Use fresh lemons for this. Don’t use the jarred lemon juice. It’s too acidic. Take the time to zest and juice a few lemons and your efforts will be well-rewarded.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Real lemon!

Mix together the filling ingredients in a bowl. Whisk it really well to make sure the cornstarch doesn’t clump up.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Making the custard.

Then pour the lemon custard filling into the baked crust. I just love the color here.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Action shot!

This will need to bake a second time for about 15 minutes. Maybe a bit longer.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Ready to bake!

The Cherry Swirl

Again, I went with real cherries here. In a pinch, you could use cherry preserves, but since you have to wait for the crust and bars to bake anyway, might as well go the extra distance!

Finely chop some thawed dark cherries and add them to a small pot with sugar. Simmer that for a few minutes and continue to mash the cherries as they simmer. Then stir in the cornstarch and water mixture. Anytime you are adding cornstarch to a hot liquid like this, it’s always good to dissolve the cornstarch in water or it will just clump up.

Cook this for another minute or two over low heat and then remove it from the heat. It will thicken nicely as it cools.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Cherry topper!

Finishing the Bars

When the lemon bars come out of the oven, the filling will still be jiggly and not completely set. Don’t worry about it. It will set up as the bars cool. While the custard is still loose though, add the cherry swirl filling to it so you can swirl it into the filling.

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Out of the oven!

Use a knife to swirl it around and then let the bars cool to room temperature.

Then chill them in a fridge for at least a few hours (or overnight).

Then you can carefully lift them out of the pan and peel back the foil. Perfect!

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

Chilled and peeled.

Chop up the bars into 12 even pieces and dust them with powdered sugar and a little extra lemon zest if you want.

Even if you’re a gluten lover (I am), these are some of the best lemon bars you’ll find. Guaranteed to make friends, especially gluten-free friends!

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars: These simple baked dessert bars are gluten-free and use Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour for the crust! The bars are bright, fruity, tangy, and so very addictive. The recipe uses real lemons and cherries! #spons | macheesmo.com

Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars: These simple baked dessert bars are gluten-free and use Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour for the crust! The bars are bright, fruity, tangy, and so very addictive. The recipe uses real lemons and cherries! #spons | macheesmo.com

8 comments on “Lemon Cherry Swirl Bars

  1. I like this Lemon Cherry swirl bars so much! The little sour flavor is my favorite. I like your blue color bowl so much! I cant wait to try your recipe on this coming weekend. Thanks

  2. That’s a great recipe for a super delicious gluten-free dessert! I bake quite often with almond meal and I find it sooo good. Love the lemon and cherry flavor together in these bars, plus it looks so pretty! You know, I’ve never thought of specifying in my recipes to use actual lemon juice instead of the store bought one? I guess it is better to be specific: the difference in taste is astronomical!

    1. Definitely. Ususally I won’t specify if it’s a small amount, but in a recipe like this with a lot of juice, it’s super important to use fresh squeezed!

Leave a Comment