I’m letting you in on a little secret. Caramel goes really, really well with lemon. The tartness of lemon is an amazing contrast to the sweet, spiciness of this caramel. Not just any caramel either, I created a spicy, sweet tahini caramel. So amazingly, delicious. One bite into these beauties and you will be shaking your head in disbelief that it only took you 8 ingredients to make something so luscious. Oh, and no cooking, no appliances, no baking.
I revamped the classic lemon bar and made them vegan and raw and 10xxxxxxx times better. I’m obsessed with coconut butter and tahini, so I figured, why not combine the two and see what happens? Deliciousness happens. I also added in a spicy caramel swirl made with the tahini and just about died.
Make sure to use a smooth/runny fresh tahini that you like the taste. Some are very bitter. You should not be able to know there is tahini in there…in fact, NONE of my taste testers had a clue it was in there, or what was in there! I have only enjoyed Rawguru tahini which you can either order online or find at Whole Foods. It is very smooth, not overly thick and a very clean mild taste. I have found other brands to taste overpowering.
A twist on the classic lemon bar that is normally just gobs of butter and sugar is not only healthier but tastes so rich and sinful, you will pinch yourself.
Don’t believe me?? Well, I dropped off a couple of batches to my taste testers and these were their responses:
“One of your best recipes ever. I don’t know how you keep doing it. This tastes so rich it must have something unhealthy in it that you snuck in there. Loved it”
“These bars were so rich, I only needed 3 bites and I was satisfied. Seriously reminded me of lemon cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.”
“Totally luscious and creamy. They were beautiful to look at and tasted even better. Loved the spicy caramel swirl.”
People may wonder why I always use taste testers, but it’s important for me to get opinions from others, especially people who are used to dairy and butter and sugary desserts. When they love it just as much, or more than I do, I know it’s a great recipe to share!
I hope you all love these Vegan Lemon Bars with Spiced Tahini Caramel.
Vegan Lemon Bars with Spiced Tahini Caramel
- 1 1/2 cup (225g) raw whole almonds
- 2-3 tablespoons (40-60g) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup (135g) completely melted coconut butter (NOT coconut oil!)(I make my own, click here, this ingredient is not optional and cannot be subbed, it is what makes the bars firm up)
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (84g) smooth/runny RAW tahini (toasted tahini will be too strong of a flavor, I use Rawguru or Kroger Simple Truth brand is great)
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons (140g) pure maple syrup, room temperature (agave would work too)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons (90g) fresh lemon juice, room temperature
- Pinch fine sea salt
- Lemon zest, optional for garnish
Spicy tahini caramel swirl
- 2 teaspoons smooth/runny tahini
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- water to thin if necessary
- If your tahini is extremely thick, warm it slightly to a smooth liquid and then measure. If you don't like tahini, you can try subbing with maybe cashew butter. Let me know if you try it!
- Before beginning, make sure your syrup, tahini and lemon juice are at room temperature, otherwise it will cause the coconut butter to cease up while mixing. Prepare the crust first by adding the nuts to a food processor and processing into a flour. Add the syrup and vanilla and process until it forms clumps and stop. Add more syrup if it's not clumping. Line a 9X5 loaf pan with plastic wrap. Use plastic wrap, not parchment, so you can easily press the mixture on the bottom and shape the bars into squares. Parchment paper is too stiff to do it. Press the dough into the lined pan flat and evenly and out to the edges.
- Next, melt your coconut butter to a complete liquid, then measure out 3/4 cup. It is important to measure after it is a complete liquid, so the bars result in the right texture. Set aside.
- Next, slightly melt your tahini if it is too thick, then measure 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons. It should also be smooth and liquidy before measuring, so you don't get too much of tahini in the bars. In a medium bowl, combine the raw tahini, syrup, vanilla, lemon juice and salt and stir well. Now, add in the melted coconut butter and stir really well until mixed. It will be thick. Pour on crust and spread out evenly.
- Mix swirl ingredients in a small cup with a fork. Drop by spoonfuls onto the lemon batter and swirl around with a toothpick. Garnish with lemon zest, if desired. It gives it a beautiful presentation.
- Chill to firm up in fridge a couple of hours, at least. Slice into bars while they are still in the pan. These are very thick and rich, so I cut them into 8 bars. Keep them stored in the fridge.