Lemon Bars were a lunchbox staple in my childhood household.
So sweet and tart, simple and easy to prepare — it’s hard to resist a lemon bar, in my humble opinion.
When I was in high school, I would make the bars myself from a boxed mix (I know, I know, but I was a busy teenager with mix tapes to make and legwarmers to collect). And yes, it may have happened once or twice that I ate the entire pan of lemon bars before they actually got cut into bars. Whatever. I dance off the pounds while listening to my mix tapes.
As an adult, I still love lemon bars, but often feel that there is something missing. Let’s face it: the average lemon bar is a little bit of a one-trick pony. So I find myself making bars out of this and that, trying to recapture that perfect, sweet/tart bite that was so captivating when I was younger.
Which brings us to these Mango Citrus Bars.
There really isn’t anything better than a ripe mango. Maybe a ripe mango that someone else takes the time to peel and pit for you, but short of that — nothing. It’s just so sweet and juicy.
So what better way to jazz up some lemon bars with a little bit of delicious mango?
As you can see, these are more like a mango bar with some lemon in it rather than the other way around. But does anyone really care? I think not.
Between the lemon juice in the filling, the lemon sugar in the graham cracker crust, and the lemon sugar sprinkled on top, these bars offer layers of tart mixed with the sweet of the mango — just perfect.
I might have eaten a few of these. One… two… six.
Flashback to yesteryear. Why is this pan so empty? At least there’s a good mix tape playing in the background.
Mango Citrus Bars Recipe
For the crust:
- 2 c. graham cracker crumbs
- ½ c. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. white sugar, granulated
- 2 tsp. Didi Davis lemon sugar
For the filling:
- 2 ½ c. mango, fresh, peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
- ½ c. white sugar, granulated
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh
- 2 tsp. Didi Davis lemon sugar for finishing
Preheat oven to 350 °.
Grease an 8” x 8” baking pan and set it aside.
In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter and sugars. Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until golden at the edges.
Meanwhile, bring the mango, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch to a boil. Boil for approximately 5 minutes, stirring regularly so that the mixture doesn’t scorch. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the crust has baked, pour the thickened mango mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining lemon sugar over the mango puree and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling at the edges.
Allow the baked bars to come to room temperature and then chill through to set completely before slicing and serving.
YIELD: 9 large bars
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