Grapefruit Cardamom Bars

It’s amazing how being a parent can make time fly and stand still at the same time. My little one just turned ONE YEAR OLD last month, and I cannot believe that all that time has passed already! March is already halfway done; the 60-degree weather, sandwiched between snow and groppel flurries, are iconic of a Montana spring, and I’ve been getting outside every chance I can get. I also have been craving everything citrus, and we were lucky to receive a box of freshly picked oranges, grapefruit, and lemons from my in-laws who were recently down in Arizona. So fresh.  

The other thing that wakes up with the weather is my green thumb. Despite our lack of space in our small house, starting seeds seems to always take precedent to pretty much anything else. As the following picture shows, this leaves little (but still just enough!) counter space for baking. The plants and the ingredients have learned to become friends in the tight quarters.

My goal for this recipe was for it to be entirely sugar free, and to also contain honey exclusively (A chest cold has been making it’s way through, and I’ve been downing as much lemon and honey as I can stand). As a result, the crust pictured is pretty wet, and the final product is much more dense. A typical shortbread crust will be a bit more crumby and loose; both recipes will be included below.

After discovering a Cardamom Rhubarb Pudding Cake last year, I’ve been playing with other fruits that will compliment the richness of the spice. There’s something about the tartness and slight bitterness of grapefruit that cuts through but blends perfectly! I also added a bit of lemon juice to keep the tartness that we all love in your traditional lemon bars.

Grapefruit Cardamom Bars

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
– 1/2 cup honey
– 1 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
– Pinch of salt

Crust – Shortbread:
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 cup flour
– 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
– Pinch of salt

– 3 eggs
– 3/4 cup honey (can also use sugar if desired)
– 1 tsp grapefruit zest
– 1/4 cup flour
– 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
– 1 Tbls lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350*. Grease an 8×8 round or square baking pan, and line with parchment paper. You can cut to fit the bottom of the pan, or keep the edges long enough to fold over the edge, which helps prevent sticking.

Use only ONE of the offered crust recipes above; cream together butter and sugar OR honey, then add flour and a pinch of salt.

  • If you are using the honey recipe, it will be pretty wet; after mixing, spread with a spatula into the bottom of the pan, pressing all the way to the sides.
  • If you are using the shortbread recipe, it will be more crumby; just mix till combined, and then press into pan as well, evenly and all the way to the sides.

Bake crust for 13-15 minutes, until slightly brown around the edges.

Make the filling while the crust is baking: whisk together eggs, honey, and zest until combined. Sprinkle flour over the top and whisk till all combined; add juice and mix.

When the crust is done, remove from the oven. Pour filling over warm crust, and return to the oven for 16-18 minutes until the center is set (no longer jiggling). Cool entirely in pan, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut into squares, and use parchment paper to lift out of pan.

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