Avon Lady Lemon Squares with a Twist

This was actually one of the first posts I wrote a few months ago and did not finish, but when I went to check it out, I realized I didn’t write down a single ingredient that I used! So… I remade these at previously mentioned impromptu Sunday supper. Here we go:

When I was probably around 8 years old I started making lemon squares. The recipe is from my mother’s college roommate’s mother’s avon lady. Yes, you read that correctly. It is THE best lemon square recipe known to man and I became the lemon square maker at a very young age. My mom used to have to mix the crust for me when I was wee and I made these for just about every occasion and until I went GF, I made them all the time. In fact, it was my go-to recipe when there is nothing else in the house or I can make it at parties in minutes flat with guests waiting for a midnight snack. My mother wrote this down on a piece of lined paper in 1970ish. I used that browned and waxy piece of paper for years.

I hadn’t made this recipe in over a year, but then the director of our Farmers’ Market requested something “lemony” for her birthday. I had 2 choices: I could make these famous lemon squares and torture myself as I watched others eat them, or I could experiment. I could alter the best recipe ever and see what could happen. I chose the latter.

Here is my version of these lemon squares and I must say they turned out pretty darn good. I started with a pecan almond crust and went from there…

Pecan Almond Crust
2 c almond flour (blanched almonds, ground in the cuisinart)
1 1/2 c pecans, ground (still cracking those from our trees)
5 T sugar
1/2 c butter (earthspread)
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
2 t vanilla (I used 1 Tablespoon for my version here but next time I would do less)

Heat oven to 350. Grind the almonds and pecans in the cuisinart to a fine powder. Add other dry ingredients and blend. Add butter and vanilla and blend until completely mixed. Press the crust with your fingertips into a 9×12 pyrex. While I would normally suggest pressing it up the sides, I found that this crust is better without being very high up on the sides. So I covered the bottom, and then pressed just up from the corner. The dough is very sticky. Don’t worry, it works. Alas, my pyrex was tied up, so I used 2 smaller pans. Par-bake the crust for about 10 minutes.

Then the filling. These are puckering lemon squares. As in, not those uber sweet ones you find at the store. It’s also a very gooey recipe, not tons of flour in the filling, which is why it was so easy to substitute the 4 T of flour it calls for with arrowroot (I’m sure tapioca starch would do too or white rice flour mightwork too).

Lemon Goodness:
4 eggs
2 c (scant) sugar
1/2 c lemon juice
4 T arrowroot powder

Beat together all of the above ingredients with a whisk and add it to par-baked crust. Bake at 350 for another 15-20 minutes. Let cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you must.


About Salts Kitchen

I write. I eat. And I cook. I write about what I cook and eat. I love finding new foods, being inspired to make something I've never made, and most of all I love feeding other people things that they have never tried before. I like disproving myths about food and what it means to eat well, to eat healthy, often on a budget, and for some of us- to eat with a bunch of food allergies (and still eat well!).
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5 Responses to Avon Lady Lemon Squares with a Twist

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  3. JT says:

    Hi! I just made this recipe from the Alliance cookbook. My only issue is that the filling did not completely solidify, even after refrigerating it overnight. I cut a piece out today, and found some filling run into the empty spot.

    I used flour instead of arrowroot – was that my mistake? I don’t think cooking it longer is the answer, as the top would get too brown.

    Let me know what you think. Thanks.

    • Salts Kitchen says:

      Hi John! It’s a gooey version, especially compared to the kind you get at the store, but it should definitely stand up once cooled. Using flour instead of arrowroot powder will change the amount of time you bake it for, but the texture would still be great (the original version calls for flour). Try it out again and make sure to whisk the sugar, flour, lemon juice and eggs together really well. Also, make sure your using large eggs (even extra large!). If it’s still very jiggly on top again, then cover it with foil and bake for another 5-8 minutes. Let me know how it goes!

      • JT says:

        Thanks for following up. I so wanted this to come out perfect the first time, but I appreciate your input. I will keep you posted.

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