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Lemon Coconut Bars & The Simplest Fruit Bars Weight Watchers PointsPlus 3

On Monday I talked about the menu I used for entertaining over the weekend. This was one of the desserts I served and I must say these lemony bars were easy to make using a jar of purchased lemon curd that can be found in the jelly and jam section at your grocery store. Of course if you want, you can make your own lemon curd from scratch, it is easy but I was trying to trim my time in the kitchen for prep so I purchased the lemon curd this time.

Not only were these delicious with a buttery, crunchy crust, a moist lemon filling that paired beautifully with the toasted coconut topping but, they are actually only 3 points on the new Weight Watchers program! Next time I will try making them with Whole wheat pastry flour to bump up the nutritional value a little bit.

If you aren’t a fan of lemon bars you can substitute your favorite fruit jam and toasted nuts instead of the coconut for a completely different taste treat. Thanks again to cookbook author Pam Anderson for this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks of hers, The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great.

These bars freeze well so go ahead and make a batch, cut them and then wrap them individually and freeze for future treats. Enjoy one with a cup of hot coffee or a cup of your favorite hot tea.

 

Lemon Coconut Bars

  • ¼ cup sweetened or unsweetened flaked coconut (I used sweetened)
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup prepared lemon curd
  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan (disposable is fine) with heavy-duty foil, leaving an overhang on two sides to facilitate removal of bar from pan. Coat foil with vegetable cooking spray.
  2. Scatter coconut in small shallow baking pan and set aside.
  3. Mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in melted butter with a fork, then switch to hands and continue to mix until dough is crumbly and sticks together when squeezed. Press dough into bottom of prepared pan.
  4. Place pan in oven, along with pan of coconut. Bake coconut for 7 minutes or until golden brown. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Remove crust from oven. Spread curd over crust, and then sprinkle with toasted coconut.
  6. Return to oven and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using foil “handles” lift bars from pan. Let cool to room temperature, then cut into 2 inch squares and serve. Bars can be frozen for 3 months, covered with foil and refrigerated for one week, or stored at room temperature for several days.

Yield: 16 bars  Servings Size: 1 bar

Nutritional Information (calculated using sweetened coconut)

Per Serving: 113 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Protein; 17g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber

Old WWP 3  / New WWPP 3

Recipe Adapted from The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great

Here is another version using jam instead of lemon curd. It has many possibilities using different fruit jams and nuts.

Simplest Fruit Bars

¼ cup sliced almonds or 1/4 cup chopped pecans or 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or 1/4 cup chopped pistachios

1 cup all purpose flour

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter

1 cup of your favorite jam (50 calories per Tablespoon)

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan (disposable is fine) with heavy-duty foil, leaving an overhang on two sides to facilitate removal of bar from pan. Coat foil with vegetable cooking spray.

Scatter nuts in small shallow baking pan and set aside.

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in melted butter with a fork, then switch to hands and continue to mix until dough is crumbly and sticks together when squeezed. Press dough into bottom of prepared pan.

Place pan in oven, along with pan of nuts. Bake nuts for 5 minutes or until golden brown. Bake crust for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove crust from oven. Spread jam over crust, and then sprinkle with toasted nuts.

Return to oven and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using foil “handles” lift bars from pan. Let cool to room temperature, then cut into 2 inch squares and serve. Bars can be frozen for 3 months, covered with foil and refrigerated for one week, or stored at room temperature for several days.

Servings: 16

Servings Size: 1 bar

Here are some combinations to consider;

Peach Jam and Pecans

Strawberry Jam and Almonds

Apricot Jam and Pistachios

Nutritional Information using 1 cup of your favorite fruit jam @ 50 calories per Tablespoon:

With almonds, Per Serving : 123 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 71mg Sodium.  WWPP 3

With pecans, Per Serving: 121 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 71mg Sodium.  WWPP 3

With Pistachios, Per Serving : 121 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 71mg Sodium. WWPP 3

With walnuts, Per Serving: 121 Calories; 4g Fat; 1g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 71mg Sodium.WPP 3

Note: If you use a reduced sugar jam like Trader Joes Organic Reduced Sugar Raspberry Preserves it does reduce the calories and sugar but not the points.

Recipe Adapted from The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great

NUTMEG NOTES

I don’t eat sweets like this on a daily basis but sometimes I just want something sweet other than fruit and these bars are perfect for a little slice of sweetness to satisfy my sweet tooth with out sending me head first into a sugar coma!

Cookbook author Pam Anderson in her book The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight & Eating Great had this to say about eating sweets, “The key to teatime goodies is to keep them small and flavorful. The more pronounced the flavor, the more satisfied you’ll be, and the less likely you are to cheat. Take away all it’s pleasures, and the body will bite back-hard!”

I have found that to be true. If I want something sweet the fake stuff with artificial sweeteners won’t do the trick as it isn’t real and doesn’t satisfy my taste buds. I would rather have a small piece of something real and flavorful made with real butter, sugar and packed with flavor. I don’t eat baked goods everyday because it too easily becomes a habit and I think I “need” to have it.

I try to eat these type of foods after a healthy balanced meal (not as a snack) it is less likely to have an impact on my blood sugar and is less likely to cause carb cravings if my tummy isn’t empty. If I eat something high in sugar on an empty tummy in between meals it sends my blood sugar sky high and when my blood sugar crashes I have incredible cravings for more sugar.

Case in point, in the past I would be shopping in Costco and decided to get a frozen yogurt instead of lunch since I wasn’t all that hungry. Well a little while after polishing off that sugary, sweet, frozen yogurt I would have incredible hunger and cravings for more carbs! I finally figured out it was the sugar that was a problem for me.

Live and learn.

Tami

Add Your Thoughts

How do you handle eating treats?

Do you go for a small piece of the real thing or do you try to satisfy your taste buds with something else?


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28 comments

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  1. Ann says:

    I’m having a hard time with food lately. I’ve just been frustrated with the whole deal. I have to say that ice cream or frozen yogurt is a treat I crave.. I love that stuff. I wish I had more time to cook. Lately I haven’t been doing so well. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling down on my diet lately? Anyway, I totally agree that eating carbs or even sugary flavored diet drinks drives my cravings. As always, I love your blog!

    1. Tami says:

      Ann I go through times where it is harder to eat healthy and I know that more refined carbs in my diet is a trigger for me. So there are times I have to refrain from eating sugary stuff.

      If you are wanting the comfort of ice cream and frozen yogurt you might want to try the banana soft serve, it is a great substitute and might not cause you to crave
      more carbs. Check out a couple posts I did about it, chocolate banana soft serve here http://nutmegnotebook.com/?p=1745 and then the strawberry banana soft serve here http://nutmegnotebook.com/?p=822

      You have done so well with your weight loss and your eating even when you have been sick. Think of how far you have come in the past year and the awesome changes you have made.

      I think many of us have Spring fever right now and we are ready for a change in weather, the food we eat and the clothes we wear!

      Hang in there as this too shall pass.

  2. Karen says:

    Drool! So… lemon bars. Here’s what I learned the hard way. I actually like them better frozen! I put them there once to keep myself from overindulging and, voila, ate them from the freezer.

    1. Tami says:

      Oh Karen, I have to laugh at this, something being frozen has never stopped me from munching on it! I too like many things better in their frozen state!

  3. Weight Watcher Wannabe says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!! Im dying to try the Lemon Bar’s… Lemon and Coconut are you kidding me…. What a yummy looking picture as well… Thanks for sharing it. Im really interested in the cookbook as well. I shall be checking it out at amazon for sure…. Thanks…

    p.s Did you use un or sweetened coconut?

    1. Tami says:

      I am so glad you are excited about this recipe! I did use sweetened coconut and the nutritional information was calculated using the sweetened. Thanks for asking that I will edit the recipe to reflect that.

      Let me know if you try this recipe. I bought a used copy of the cookbook off Amazon and I think I paid under $10 including shipping. What a deal!

  4. Roz says:

    HI Tami,
    These bars look great! I’ve bookmarked them into the “try soon” file. I’m finding since I’ve been on weight watchers that if I have JUST a bit of a baked good, that’s all I need. I try to find relatively healthy recipes, and just portion them out and freeze all but my husband and I will eat the next day. I made lemon/cranberry loaf last night, and just a small slice was perfect with some fruit at breakfast. Thanks for your great recipe, have a good day.

    1. Tami says:

      A lemon cranberry loaf sounds wonderful! I love cranberries, fresh or dried.

      It sounds like you have found a nice balance with your eating.

  5. Dawn Hutchins says:

    These look so wonderful. My mother in law makes lemon bars at Christmas but these look even better and lighter!
    I would say I sometimes do one or the other. During the day I will sub a small piece of really dark chocolate for a large pc of store bought cake people are handing out for office birthdays OR other times, if it’s cheesecake or something with nutella, I will indulge in a small piece.

    1. Tami says:

      I too am a fan of dark chocolate and find it to be very satisfying.

  6. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    You should write a cookbook picture book since you are a great cook & baker & your pics are amazing! :-)

    I plan ahead for my weekend cookie treats & they are from the bakery – no box or packaged cookies for me! :-)

    1. Tami says:

      Jody I love that you have your weekly bakery treats. By purchasing them you don’t have dozens around to be tempting either so that is a great strategy for portion control.

  7. Jenn@slim-shoppin says:

    Those lemon bars look great – I love the stats!

    I do like just a touch of something sweet after dinner. One thing that does the trick with low calories? 2 marshmallows, 1 graham cracker, a few chocolate chips and microwave. It’s sweet and satisfying and I can’t eat more than one.

    1. Tami says:

      I have made those in the past, thanks for the reminder of an easy yet satisfying treat!

  8. Carol says:

    We love anything lemon & Bryce loves coconut!I think I’ll make these as an extra dessert for mom’s 91st. birthday dinner!That way I can have a dessert and not go over my Points+
    As for handling treats…I have pretty much what I want but in measured servings and not everyday.I’m content with a small serving.

    1. Tami says:

      Great idea Carol. When is your mom’s birthday?

      1. Carol says:

        On March 7th Tami. Last year we had a big dinner for her at a restaurant but she asked us to not do that this year. So, I decided to make her a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. Judy is going to buy her favorite cake and because it is loaded with whipped cream, baking your lemon bars is a real good idea!! :)There will be just Bryce, me, Judy & bil, Mom and Dean, if he’s not working.

  9. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    Mmmm, these look tasty! I have everything on hand except the lemon curd. I’m *supposed* to be on a no-packaged products program until I use up some of my pantry, but I may have to make an exception for this. :) Thanks for the recipe, Tami!

    1. Tami says:

      Cammy if you have some lemons you can make your own lemon curd! I sometimes decide to cook only from what I have on hand and it is a good way to use things up before they go bad and it sure saves on money too! If you have some jam on hand make one of the other variations instead.

  10. biz says:

    I actually don’t think I’ve ever had a lemon bar – they look delicious! I don’t eat sweets too much either, but when I do its the real deal!

    1. Tami says:

      If you have never had a lemon bar Biz you really must give them a try! I love the tart flavor and the buttery crust.

  11. Marisa @ Loser for Life says:

    Tami, that cookbook seems to be a real winner! I’m going to have to check that out!

    Thank you for all the fruit bar ideas. They all sound amazing!

    1. Tami says:

      You know Marisa every recipe I have tried out of this cookbook has been a hit with us. It is one of the best “light” cookbooks I have come across. The recipes are easy, super flavorful and she gives you so many options and variations so once you learn the basic recipe you can changes it and make it different every time you make it!

  12. Leslie says:

    Hi Tami – As always – I’ve already printed off this recipe! I so appreciate you including nutritional info and WWP+ values too. You continue to be a blog I read all the time, and a major source of recipes! Who needs cookbooks anymore??? I have to say, the Pam Anderson one is tempting me. Have a great weekend!

    1. Tami says:

      Leslie thank you for all of your sweet comments! It makes me happy to know you are using the recipes.

      Now that I have the Mastercook software and I am figuring out how to use it with help from friends on a message board I am able to calculate the nutritional information and figure out the WWPP points. I hope to go back and add this information to all old recipe posts. I have done a half dozen or so but there are many more to be done.

      You just might want to invest in the Pam Anderson cookbook. It has fast become my favorite for new recipes!

      Enjoy your weekend.

  13. Kim at Quit Eating Out {Recipes to Make Dining Out A Choice, Not A Chore} says:

    So glad to have found your site…. I’m your newest follower and have enjoyed reading through your recipes. Looking forward to being a regular reader. I’m on week one of Weight Watchers along with my husband, and LOVE it!

    1. Tami says:

      Hi Kim and welcome to Nutmeg Notebook! I look forward to getting to know you and I will stop by your blog too!

      Lots of people are loving the new WW program and losing weight on it.

      Wishing you much success!

  14. erica@fashionmeetsfood says:

    Could these get any more heavenly! I dont think so. I am definitely buying everything to make them today.

    xo

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