Grain-free Meyer Lemon Bars

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

Meyer Lemon Bars - Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free + Refined Sugar-free

Since we’ve moved here to Southern California, just about two months ago, we haven’t had any guests come stay with us just yet. My sister comes two weeks from today and I have literally been counting down the days minutes, then my parents come just one month later! I cannot wait! Last week however, our very good friend Jane, who lives in Colorado, came to see us for the day. She had been in Corona, CA for the week and she was able to borrow a car to drive out to our neck of the woods.

Although we have quite a few good friends here in Southern California, whom we have known for many years, it was really nice to have our first “family” guest since we’ve moved here. Even if just for a few hours. Jane has been a part of my life since I can remember, she and Mom went to high school together and have remained in contact since. My sisters and I have always jokingly called Jane, “our other Mother”. There hasn’t been a Christmas morning that we didn’t share with Jane, she would always make the trip back to Buffalo from Colorado to spend the holidays with her family and we were always lucky enough to steal her away for a few hours on Christmas morning. Before she had nieces Jane would actually spend Christmas Eve night at our house and we would wake up in the morning and she would make us clean our room before we could go downstairs and attack the tree. Likely buying my parents time to get more sleep, since I am sure they were all up late.

Meyer Lemon Bars - Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free + Refined Sugar-free

Besides my own actual immediate family, I don’t think that we could have another guest here in the first two months that could have made me any happier. Since she was here a short time, I offered to make her lunch. She absolutely adores my family’s Greek Avgolemeno soup, which she loves to tell me Mom that I make better than her. So I of course, made a big pot of that for her visit. I am sure you have heard me mention many times before that this soup always reminds me of home and my family, so it really couldn’t have been more perfect for this visit.

When Jane arrived she brought me a huge bag FULL of fresh produce from the organic farm on the land where she was staying. So many different varieties of oranges, lemons, a few grapefruits and a few types of citrus that I have never even seen before, plus the most delicious avocados. Besides looking beautiful and tasting amazing, all of the citrus have been making the house smell incredible.

There were some Meyer lemons in the bag. Those are my absolute favorite. They are just so tasty and subtly sweet, so much so that I hate to waste them just in my morning lemon water or in a juice. I wanted to make something extra special with them. I just wish I could have made these bars and then shared them with Jane.

Meyer Lemon Bars - Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free + Refined Sugar-free

What makes this recipe extra special, besides who/where I got the Meyer lemons from, is that you actually use an entire whole lemon in the filling. Yes the whole fruit. Peel, pith and all. So, it is quite important that you use an organic lemon, or at least one that is unsprayed and free of pesticides or other chemicals.

You can certainly use a regular lemon in place of the Meyer lemon, but you’ll want to increase the sweetener a bit since it won’t be as sweet as the Meyer lemon is. The filling of this recipe was adapted from David Lebovitz. His recipe utilizes corn starch, a regular lemon, regular sugar and butter, so I tweaked it to make it work for me and to highlight the flavor of the Meyer lemon.

*If you are vegan, I would be hesitant to recommend any egg replacers in place of the eggs, since there is a fluffiness from the eggs that gives the filling it’s texture. There are many vegan lemon bar recipes that use silken tofu or soaked cashews to created a creamy topping, but since I had a dozen beautiful brown eggs fresh from a local farmer, I decided they would be perfect for this. If anyone does experiment in making this vegan, please do report back, I would love to hear how it turns out.

Meyer Lemon Bars - Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free + Refined Sugar-free

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Janine April 29, 2013 at 7:42 am

These look absolutely divine! I cannot wait to try making these. I love the whole lemon trick! So brilliant!!! Thank you.

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2 Mary Anne April 29, 2013 at 7:45 am

I am obsessed with lemon anything and I haven’t had lemon bars in forever. Thank you thank you for this recipe. I know what I am doing this weekend.

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3 Alyssa | Queen of Quinoa April 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

Ahh these look absolutely amazzzzzing!!!!!!! I need to try them asap. I’m dying for blueberry bars…think it might work with fresh berries if I mashed them? You’re so lucky you have all that fabulous fruit out there :)

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4 tastyyummies April 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

Thanks Alyssa! Oh man, that’s such a great idea. I bet it would work great. Ok now I really have to try it that way ASAP. I bet a cup or so of blueberries instead of the whole lemon in the processor and then maybe still add a little fresh lemon juice. Then maybe a few fresh whole berries to stir in. I bet that would be incredible.

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5 Simply called food April 29, 2013 at 11:24 am

I love anything with lemon, especially dessert.

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6 Carmen April 29, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I am so excited to try these!
I’m new to your blog and I absolutely love it. I’ve made two of your recipes in the last 5 days – your dark chocolate coconut cups and the berry cobbler. I just want you to know that I love that you have simple, uncomplicated recipes that turn out FANTASTIC every time. I made both of these for potluck events with eaters of all varieties (I’m gluten/dairy free and mostly paleo) and everyone loved them. Thank you!!

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7 tastyyummies May 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Hi Carmen! So happy you found your way to my site. Thanks for all of your kind words. I am so happy to hear you find my recipes uncomplicated, it is definitely something I strive for and look for myself when using a recipe. So glad everyone loved the recipes you have made. Your comment made my day. Thank you thank you 😉

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8 Trisha @ Vignette April 29, 2013 at 4:13 pm

These bars look so delicious! Perfect for dessert following a light spring meal!

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9 tastyyummies May 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Trisha!!

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10 Gina April 30, 2013 at 8:04 am

These look amazing. I have a beautiful lemon tree with plenty of lemons that need to be used.

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11 tastyyummies May 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Thanks Gina!! I hope you enjoy these if you make them. Remember if using regular lemons, you may want to increase the sweetener a bit since they aren’t as sweet as a Meyer lemon. Thanks so much!

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12 Cathy May 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Do you peel the whole lemon or just process the whole thing, peel and all?

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13 tastyyummies May 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

Whole thing. Peel and all. Just make sure to cut it up and remove all the seeds. I am telling you, it sounds strange, but you will not believe the amazing flavor.

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14 christine May 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm

i tried the recipe today…..the crust stayed soggy even if I refrigerated them for awhile. Was your crust soggy too? I was expecting more of a cheesecake crust, a little firmer and crispier.

Maybe I did not cook the crust long enough….what are your thoughts?

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15 tastyyummies May 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm

Christine – the crust will get soggier the longer these sit, so best to eat them up in the first two days (I know, darn!). They shouldn’t be soggy right out of the oven, however. Maybe your crust was a little under cooked?

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16 Chris May 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I am just disappointed!! it looked great.. but it was just tooooooo bitter to have a bite. :( What went wrong? I don’t know :'(

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17 tastyyummies May 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Chris – did you use a regular lemon or a Meyer lemon? Regular lemons are definitely less sweet than a Meyer lemon so as the post suggests you most likely would want to add more sweetener when using a regular lemon. Sorry they were too bitter, that should not be the case. Maybe add some sugar on top, powdered or regular so that you can at least eat this batch?

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18 sasha visconty May 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm

I made these three times since it was posted and they are a huge hit at my house. I’d recommend using the longer bake duration for the crust if it comes out soft. I just had two people ask for the recipe : ) I love the recipes on this site!

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19 tastyyummies May 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I am so happy to hear this Sasha! Thanks so much for sharing.

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20 Aubrey @ Homegrown & Healthy May 20, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Oh… yum yum yum!

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21 tastyyummies May 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

Haha Thanks Aubrey! I actually was just thinking I need to make these again, ASAP. They are so perfect for this time of year.

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22 Faith May 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

Awesome recipe. Will definitely share this with my organic cooperative! If you’re anywhere near Orange County, consider meeting up with us. We get together to share what we have that’s extra and help people start their gardens.

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23 Jennifer Johnson May 24, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Meyer lemons are my favorite! I just planted my own tree. So looking forward to trying this recipe!

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24 Rosario June 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

I love your website and recipes!! The first time I made this it was a little on the bitter side (maybe my lemons?), but the second time I substituted fresh apricots from my garden for the whole lemon and it was a huge hit!

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25 tastyyummies June 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Rosario, thanks so much, I am so glad you like my site. Did you make this the first time with regular lemons or meyer lemons? There are notes in there that mention needed to add a little more sweetener if you use regular lemons. Otherwise, if you used meyer lemons and it was still a tad bitter, maybe they just weren’t as sweet as they should be. I would say in the future, just add a little more sweetener. I highly suggest going with straight up lemon, it is so incredible! Thanks for the comment, glad these were a hit!

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26 Tessa@TessaDomesticDiva February 18, 2014 at 7:56 pm

another possibility is the pith. Some lemons have a lot of pith (the white part under the yellow peel) that is super bitter. SO if a lemon has a thick layer of pith, it would probably make it too bitter. Just an idea! Meyer lemons of course rarely have a thick skin….so it is a non issue.

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27 Bec June 24, 2013 at 4:53 am

Just made these for the second time, they are so easy and so yummy! Both times I’ve added desiccated coconut to the base as it’s seemed too wet to me but that may be because I’m grinding up fresh almonds. It’s almost too good to share, both my kids love it though. Thanks :)

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28 Jennifer August 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m at a high altitude (Bozeman, MT), but these just didn’t turn out for me. I followed the recipe exactly, checked my crust after only 10 minutes and it was burnt to a crisp, and my oven has a thermometer and I’ve never had issues with baking. I tried the crust again and took it out after only 5 minutes this time but it was still really brown around the edges. Then I added my filling and it ended up being pretty foamy after I took it out of the oven. The lemon filling itself was really tasty but very sparse compared to the crust. Hopefully it’s just a weird random thing with my oven in burning the crust, but others might want to check the crust really early as mine only took a few minutes to brown up and turn down the temp a bit. I think I might double the filling next time too. All in all it was really tasty and I’ll use filling recipe again as we’re trying to stick with all-natural ingredients and it was quite tasty. Slightly more tart than a typical lemon bar recipe but I liked it better this way. Thanks!!!

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29 tastyyummies August 14, 2013 at 9:18 am

Hey Jennifer, thanks for your feedback. I am so sorry to hear that. Can you confirm that you were in fact using an 8-inch square pan? If the pan is larger it would make the crust be thinner and therefore easier to burn, it would also cause the filling to not be enough. Let me know, that is really all I could think that would cause that. I have made these several times and never had the crust burn and the filling is usually way more than enough, spilling over sometimes. Let me know, I hope we can get it figured out together. Thanks again. xo Beth

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30 Jenny August 16, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Just made these for the first time…as I was pouring in the lemon curd I watched the crust sort of collapse on itself…gotta be more careful next time that it’s fully cooked! Guess this is the practice batch that I have to eat by myself…shoot. :)

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31 janet August 17, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Can’t wait to try it they look so good.
I have a dozen key limes to use up so I’m making key lime bars instead
I’ll let you know how they turn out.

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32 Lauren Benson September 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I am making these scrumptious treats AGAIN!! So yummy- thank you so much for the recipe. I’m wondering if you think they might possibly turn out when using flax “eggs” to replace the real eggs for a fully vegan dessert? Maybe with more arrowroot?? Thanks! I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I visit your site constantly and have LOVED every amazingly delicious, super healthy creation you’ve shared!

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33 Lynn October 28, 2013 at 5:53 am

Hi, made these Meyer lemon bars this weekend and they are really good!! . One question for you. When I poured the lemon mixture on-top of the warm crust, some of the crust came to the top and mixed in with the lemom layer. Should I have waited iuntil the crust was cool before adding lemon mixture? Lynn

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34 Richard Presser December 29, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Hi. Followed this recipe this morning exactly as written and the bars were terrible. Not sure what went wrong. The crust mixture was super oily. It did brown nicely but was still soft after pre-baking. The filling was really watery and when i poured it into the pan, some of the crust floated on the surface. Baked it anyway and what I ended up with was basically a frittata. Had such high hopes – love the use of coconut oil and nut flour instead of the bad alternatives but will for sure not try this again.

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35 tastyyummies January 3, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Hi Richard I am sorry these didnt turn out for you. What type of almond flour did you use? Are you certain it was blanched almond flour? Unfortunately not all almond flours work the same in baking recipe. They must be blanched in many baking recipes to come out perfectly. Other than that, I cannot imagine why the filling would be watery? Maybe there are differences depending on how juicy the whole lemon is? I wish I could offer more advice or help. I have made these several times and never had either of these issues. Sorry again.

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36 Jessica December 31, 2013 at 5:34 am

This looks amazing! I love Lemon and I have a brother with Celiac, definitely going to try this, though I’ll have to find a substitute for Coconut oil since my brother is also allergic to Coconut.

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37 michele January 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

For bakers that found the bars too bitter with Eureka lemons — not only are Meyers sweeter, they also have very little pith, making them ideal for this Shaker pie (whole citrus) style filling…To use conventional lemons, you might scrape off some of that pith to reduce the bitter, then add some o.j. to match the sweetness of the Meyers (Meyers are a cross between Eureka lemons and oranges). You will miss that lovely floral character of Meyers, but you can approximate the sweetness without more sugar…I live in the CA desert surrounded by more organic Meyers, Eurekas, key limes, kaffir limes, grapefruits, sour oranges, pomelos than I could ever use (I spent my first couple of years here valiantly trying to fight the citrus waste, but I ended up with a kitchen full of preserved lemons that I never used because I still had fresh lemons year round!). If you ever want a box of Meyers, I love to share with anyone who will utilize them — especially if you will create more recipes for them!

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38 Victoria February 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I made these today and they are AMAZING! I substituted dates for honey in the lemon part and it is totally sweet enough. Thanks for the recipe :)

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39 Jaime February 21, 2014 at 10:07 am

I made these with Meyer lemons as directed and they were so bitter my toddler daughter (who ate a whole piece of lemon while we were cooking) spit it back out in my hand! I followed the directions almost exactly, but used mini muffin pans to make individual treats. I monitored the cooking time carefully. I have no idea what went wrong. I was so looking forward to this. I love lemon desserts, but this one is getting tossed. Sad that I wasted so many quality ingredients on something that didn’t turn out.

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40 tastyyummies February 22, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Jaime, I am so, so sorry to hear this. I have made these several times and never had an issue with sweetness, until the last batch. I guess my Meyer lemons this last time were far less sweet than each of the previous times that I made them. I ended up putting a decent amount of powdered sugar on top of the bars to account for the extra tartness this time around.

I edited the recipe to make note that Meyer lemons can vary in sweetness and bitterness and that you may need to increase the sweetener to account for this. I suggest giving it a quick taste to see if it is on the bitter side. I am sorry you ended up just throwing this out, that stinks! I hope you will try them again, maybe increasing your sweetener next time, if need be. Thanks for the feedback.

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41 Kelsey March 8, 2014 at 9:23 pm

What could I sub for the almond flour? My mum is allergic. Could I grind up pecans or another type of nut? Thanks

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42 tastyyummies March 9, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Yes other nut flours like that should work just as well.
Let me know how it turns out for you.
Thanks/

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43 Greg March 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I found this recipe just by a broad Google search, and was a bit apprehensive due to my utter lack of baking skills, but I was dying to put some Meyer lemons to good use – and I was blown away! They turned out absolutely wonderful and ended up lasting in the fridge for about 5 days. Fantastic!

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44 holly July 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Defiantly NOT good with a whole regular lemon. Sadly we made double and wasted alot of ingredients.

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45 Beth @ Tasty Yummies July 22, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Holly I am sorry to hear that. Since you used a regular lemon and not a Meyer lemon as the recipe calls for, did you increase the amount sweetener, as suggested? Meyer lemons are inherently sweeter than regular lemons, so as I mention above, you will likely have to increase the amount of sweetener used. Additionally even with Meyer lemons the level of sweetness can vary quite a bit so the amount of sweetener is this recipe NEEDS to be flexible, which I tried to be quite clear about.

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46 Monica December 1, 2014 at 8:03 am

Hi, I am dying to try these, but I was wondering if I could use agave syrup as a substitute? If so, how much? I understand it is much sweeter..

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47 Beth @ Tasty Yummies December 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

That should probably work OK, but to be honest, I haven’t baked with agave in a very long time, so I cannot say for certain. Let me know how it works out if you try it. Thanks so much.

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48 christi flaherty January 14, 2015 at 8:32 am

I am loving your website. These look great. Are you familiar with Hail Merry Tarts? They have a Meyer Lemon one and I’m wondering if this is somewhat like that. I’ve been looking for something along these lines. I miss Meyer Lemons. I had a tree in my yard that was prolific when I lived in CA. Now I have to pay $3 or more per pound for them! But for these bars, it would be totally worth it. Thanks!

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49 Brandy@ A Mindful Mantra January 15, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Oh how I’ve missed lemon bars! These sound delicious, and the photos are wonderful!

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50 Carly March 13, 2015 at 7:21 pm

These were delicious!! I used regular lemons and a little more honey and maple syrup . so divine. Just as good…actually better than regular lemon bars. Great recipe…thank you!!

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51 Jessica March 15, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Hi! These are really yummy! Easy too! I used regular lemons, added just a little more maple syrup and they were not bitter, just right in the sweet department and tartness =P I did cut the ends off the whole lemon just to cut out some of the bitter potential. I don’t usually like lemon bars but loved these. Need to get some Honeyville almond flour as I keep hearing how great it is!

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52 Amy Lynn April 5, 2015 at 12:17 am

I can’t wait to try these out! I only have regular lemons though, so I’m thinking about trying something I have done in another recipe that called for whole lemon, which is boiling it first. I have read that it decreases the bitterness and the last dessert I made turned out great. I’ll check back and let you know if it worked or not :)

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53 Sarah B May 11, 2015 at 10:58 am

These were AMAZING. A definite repeat for my family. Thank you for the great recipe!

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54 Stacy May 13, 2015 at 7:09 am

My husbands birthday is tomorrow and he is on a very restrictive diet due to food intolerances. This sounds perfect except he cannot have eggs. Is there anything I can substitute for that? Thanks!

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55 Beth @ Tasty Yummies May 13, 2015 at 9:21 pm

Stacy, unfortunately I don’t think this particular recipe will work without eggs. It’s very important to the recipe and not as a binder which could be easily replaced, but it provides the rise and the fluff to the lemon filling and I don’t think it’s possibly to recreate that any other way. I am sorry. I do hope your hubby has a wonderful birthday, even if he can’t have these yummy bars :)

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56 Marion September 5, 2015 at 6:46 am

Hey, been coming to your site for recipes for a while :) I was wandering if I could replace anything other the almond meal with buckwheat or some other kind of flour?

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57 Beth @ Tasty Yummies September 21, 2015 at 7:03 am

Marion, I have only ever made this recipe with the almond flour myself, so I don’t have any suggestions. The thing about almond flour vs buckwheat or other flours, is the extra fat so you may need to substitute additional oil to make up for it.

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58 Olivia November 1, 2015 at 12:25 am

i used the Meyers lemons and added a little extra maple syrup. They came out a little tart, but I like tart. I would probably double the sweetener for company. I used half maple and half honey. I loved them.

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59 Carrie January 10, 2016 at 9:14 pm

Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I have had it saved on my computer for sometime but finally made it today. I followed the recipe and suggestions and they came out perfectly!

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