Saturday, October 1, 2011

lemon bars (gluten free)

yes, it is as good as it looks.  :)  

i first found a recipe for gluten free lemon bars here after spotting the link on pintrest.  however, with how i have loved my mom's recipe since i was a little girl, i decided to combo the 2 for a great compromise. 

for this recipe, i used a brown rice flour mix that i will share in a minute.  but, i first wanted to try a white rice flour like the original g-free recipe uses.  so i thought to myself, "well, i have white rice... i wonder if my food processor could chop it fine enough?"

i'll cut to the chase... it didn't.  in fact, after quiet a while of rattling around in there with the blade doing it's best, all i was left with was dinged up white rice with a little bit of power clinging to the sides of the bowl.  waa, waa.  

so i gave up on that idea and went with my brown rice mix that i've been using for lots of baking/cooking.

Food Philosopher Gluten-Free Brown Rice Flour Mix 
(taken from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts)

Brown rice flour                    2 parts    or    2 cups
Potato starch (not potato flour)    2/3 parts  or    2/3 cup
Tapioca flour                       1/3 part   or    1/3 cup

this mix worked really well and hubby (who isn't a fan of g-free textures and tastes) was totally into the end result.  score one for me!

so here is my adapted recipe for...

Lemon bars gluten free

1 c. brown rice flour mix
1/3 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. xantham gum
1/2 c. butter (i used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks)
less than 1/8 t. sea salt (a tiny amount, really)

preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8 inch or 9 inch pan.  combine all ingredients and spread in the bottom of the pan.  bake for 25 minutes while mixing the lemon filling (note: do not let crust cool in between baking times)

lemon filling
1 c. granulated sugar
4-5 T. lemon juice
half a lemons worth of zest
2 eggs
2 T. brown rice flour mix
1/2 t. baking powder

mix all ingredients while crust is baking.  without allowing the crust to cool, pour lemon filling on top and put back in the oven instantly and bake for 20-25 minutes or until filling sets up.  cool and dust with powdered sugar before serving.  

a quick side note with some things i've learned about baking gluten free.  

- measure carefully because gluten free grains are much more picky about moisture levels and such

- cross contamination is the biggest danger.  so, if you still use wheat from time to time, be sure all of your surfaces, bowls, mixer, measuring cups & spoons, spatulas and pans have been washed really, really well.  (esp. don't use baking stones that have had wheat in them before)  my kitchen has been cleaner than it used to be as i no longer take a chance with a mysterious powdery white substance lacing my mixer.  better safe than sorry!  

- read every ingredient label & look for things specifically marked "gluten free".  gluten is sneaky and hides in things with names like "caramel color" (made from barley) & modified food starch (which is sometimes made from various gluten filled grains) just to name a couple.  

these bars are fantastic with a cup of tea to balance the sweetness.  

everyone i shared these with said they couldn't even tell they were gluten free.  not that it really mattered because i loved them regardless of others opinions.  but, it is nice to know that i can still throw out a desert that everyone loves and we can enjoy together.

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