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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the gluten free flour, sugar, and salt (if using).
Stir in the melted dairy free butter and mix with a fork until it looks like crumbs. Press this crumbly mixture into the prepared pan with a fork or spoon until it's pressed evenly into the bottom of the pan.
Bake the shortbread crust in the heated oven for 25 minutes.
While the crust is cooking, prepare the lemon filling.
Add 1 cup of coconut milk to a small saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch, gelatin powder, and powdered sugar until smooth and there are no lumps.
Whisk in the rest of the coconut milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and heat over medium-low heat, whisking regularly, until it thickens (about 10-15 minutes).
If you're making vegan lemon bars, the filling will thicken faster, in about 8 minutes over medium-low heat.
Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture stays smooth as it cools. It should be similar in texture to pudding, but not quite as thick (the vegan filling will be thicker at this point than the gelatin filling).
Once the crust is done baking, remove it from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
The crust and the filling should both be cooled well before adding the filling onto the crust. It will take about 35 minutes for the filling and crust to cool enough to assemble the bars.
Pour the lemon filling onto the baked crust, smooth it out, and place it in the fridge uncovered until the filling is completely set (about 4 hours). Leaving it uncovered is important to prevent condensation on the top of the bars.
Once the filling has set completely after about 4 hours, take it out of the fridge and leave it at room temp for about 30 minutes before cutting (this makes it easier to cut the shortbread crust).
Once the bars are cut, you can decide if you'd like to keep the lemon bars at room temperature or chilled.