Healthy holiday squares made with lemons, coconut butter, cranberries and oats. No baking required.
By Divya Yadava
One of the joys of the holiday season is the abundance of sweet treats, but one too many sweets leads to unnecessary weight gain and a guilty conscience! Sweets don’t have to be bad – just start with healthy, wholesome ingredients and some creativity.
I haven’t met a lemon square I didn’t love, but I’m always left feeling guilty after my indulgence. I wanted to create something bursting with real lemon taste, but without all the sugar and fat. With a few ingredient replacements, I came up with these fantastic dessert squares made with whole foods such as coconut butter, and dried fruit. They taste just as good (if not better!) as those made the traditional way. Best of all, they don’t require any baking. So, if you’re short on time and need a treat, these will be ready in mere minutes.
These squares use coconut butter which can be bought at health stores, but I recommend making it at home. All you need is a good food processor and 6-10 minutes. To prepare the coconut butter, toss a few cups of unsweetened shredded coconut (preferably organic) in the food processor and let it do all the hard work. A few minutes later and with some scraping off the sides, you’ll have a rich, creamy coconut butter.
- 1 cup coconut butter, room temperature
- Zest of one large lemon
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 cup toasted rolled oats
- Mix the lemon juice, lemon zest and coconut butter in a medium-sized non-metallic bowl.
- Add the rolled oats, cranberries and honey and mix well by hand to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
- Press the mixture into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for several hours to harden and then cut the squares with a sharp knife.
Divya Yadava is a freelance food photographer and culinary consultant based in the vibrant city of Toronto. Although Divya started her career as a business consultant, once she realized her passion for food and photography, she quit her corporate job in order to pursue her dreams. Through the medium of photography, she constantly strives to showcase the beauty of food through natural lighting and a fresh approach to styling.