Summer has finally shown it's face in my small town! After weeks of rain and chilly temperatures this week has been mostly sunny and in the 70's and 80's. Next week is my last week of work before my summer vacation and I cannot wait! In 14 years of teaching I've never gotten out of school this early and I'm really looking forward to having most of June to relax.
This week we are sharing Summers Best Potluck recipes. It'll be no surprise to you that I'm sharing a dessert recipe. Whenever we go to picnics and BBQ's in the summer I always offer to bring something and everyone always requests a dessert. We also have a lot of birthdays in the summer months in my family and I make the desserts and cakes for those as well.
It might surprise you to see that the recipe I'm sharing is Lemon Icebox Bars. I'll be the first to admit I've never made an icebox dessert. I'm not really sure why except that they were most popular before I was born. However, I'm not sure they've ever totally fallen out of favor and I can see why.
When summer sun heats up the kitchen who wants to bake something in the oven? Not me! I try to use the oven as little as possible since we don't have air conditioning. So icebox desserts are something that I can't wait to explore more.
This recipe was really easy to make and I had all the ingredients I needed in the house. The crust is a simple graham cracker crust. The filling is a combination of sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and gelatin. The gelatin is the secret to this filling because it really helps the dessert firm up in the refrigerator.
When I pulled the icebox bars out of the refrigerator I was please to see that they had firmed up. I was able to easily cut them into bars and scoop them out of the pan.
They have a lovely lemon flavor and a really smooth texture. The buttery graham cracker crust rounds out the dessert. They would be the perfect dessert to bring to an outdoor event. After having a bite of these bars I can't wait to start trying my hand at other icebox desserts!
For the crust:
- 5 full sheets of graham crackers
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the lemon filling
- 8 oz. ⅓ less fat cream cheese
- 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
- ½ c. lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 3 Tablespoons boiling water
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- Put the graham crackers, butter, brown sugar, and salt into a food processor. Process until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Press the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 9 or 7 x 11 pan lined with foil. Place in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
- Put the cream cheese in a bowl and beat on medium speed. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice and beat on medium speed until smooth. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, pour the gelatin into a bowl with the boiling water, mix, and allow to sit for 2 minutes.
- Pour the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture and beat on medium speed until fluffy.
- Pour the mixture into the crust and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.
Adapted from The Recipe Critic
More Recipes for a Summer Potluck:
- Calamari salad with fennel and avocado by Caroline’s Cooking
- Creamy Ranch Tortilla Pinwheels with Roasted Red Peppers by Dizzy Busy and Hungry
- Roasted Corn Salsa by Casa de Crews
- Cheddar Bacon Ranch Potato Salad by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Summer Grain Salad by Pook’s Pantry
- Summer Tortellini Salad by Palatable Pastime
- Caramel “Doughnut” Cake by What Smells So Good?
- Cherry Crumb Bars by The Redhead Baker