Christmas Candy and Cookie Week Rocks On!! We would never forget our gluten-free friends and family members this holiday season, and that’s a promise. Here’s a treat that is as comfortable on a cookie platter as it is on a fancy dessert tray – and best of all, your gluten loving guests won’t even know the difference. The filling is rich, creamy, tart and sweet, and the crust is a buttery shortbread kind of thing with some lemon zest thrown in just for fun.
And another good thing….it all comes together in a food processor in just minutes. We’ll start with fresh lemons, and lots of them…zested and juiced.
Before we move on to the mixing part of this whole thing, let’s talk about gluten-free flour blends for just a minute. There are a ton of them out there, and some are better than others. Chances are, if you are gluten-free or baked for someone who is, you may already have a favorite. Feel free to substitute what you like in this recipe. Here’s the thing though – if you are a first-time gluten-free flour buyer, please take a peek at the ingredients listing, because they are all different. Some use rice flours (which is in the blend we are using), and others will use a bean flour based formula. Be advised that if you go this route, you may have a beany-like taste to your finished product, and I am not a big fan of that. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big bean believer, just not in desserts. We are using the gluten-free flour blend developed by our friends at America’s Test Kitchen and this formula rocks – here’s the link to their Flour Blend Recipe . It’s a cinch to make, and just requires a trip to your favorite market that has bulk food items, or speciality alternative flours. Really, just about everybody is doing it these days so you shouldn’t have a problem. I buy my bulk items at WinCo just so you know. Back to business….all dry crust ingredients to into the food processor and get blended together, then get your butter in there and pulse until well mixed in.
The whole thing gets patted into a large 10×15 baking dish and baked for about 20 minutes. While that business is going on, all of the filling ingredients go into the food processor and are blended until smooth. As soon as that crust is starting to brown, haul him out of the oven and pour the filling right over the top..
Then back into the oven for about 15 more minutes. Your bars are done when the following occurs: Give the baking dish a little shove. If the filling is firm, it’s done. Do not rely on the old tactic of seeing if the blade of a sharp knife comes out clean equalling doneness because that does not work in this particular situation. Let them cool, then cut into squares. Right before serving, give them a big snowing of powdered sugar. This is the cookie tray version…
For the fancier dessert tray version, just give the tops a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkling of lemon zest. Now that they have their party clothes on, ___
It’s time to dance.
And if you are in the market for the perfect gift for your gluten-free friends or family, we highly recommend America’s Test Kitchen’s ‘How Can It Be Gluten-Free’, both volume I and Volume II are awesome.
As I write this post, it’s snowing outside. That can only mean it’s time for a lemon bar! Happy baking everyone!! xoxoxo
- FOR THE CRUST
- 12 ounces (2⅔ cups plus 4 tablespoons) ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend or other Gluten-Free blend of your choice
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (optional)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 sticks of butter, cut into 16 slices
- FOR THE FILLING
- 8 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup lemon juice
- ½ cup ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar (for sprinkling on finished bars)
- AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR BLEND (www.americastestkitchen.com)
- 24 ounces (4 ½ cups plus ⅓ cup) white rice flour
- 7 ½ ounces (1⅔ cups) brown rice flour
- 7 ounces (1⅓ cups) potato starch
- 3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
- 3 tablespoons nonfat milk powder (optional)
- Whisk together in a large bowl until well combined. Store in freezer for best freshness.
- Butter (or spray with kitchen spray) a 10x15 inch-baking pan. (Or one 13x9 inch pan and one 8x8 inch pan).
- For the crust: combine the ATK Gluten-Free Flour Blend, ⅔ cup granulated sugar, salt, ½ teaspoon xanthan gum and sliced butter. Pulse or cut in the butter only until small crumbs are formed.
- Press the crust mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch and slightly browned.
- While the crust is baking, prepare the topping: In a food processor, process together the sugar, gluten-free flour blend, salt, and lemon zest. Add the eggs and lemon juice. Process until smooth.
- Pour topping mixture onto the hot crust as soon as it comes out of the oven, return to the oven and continue baking for between 20-30 minutes, or until the topping is firm.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar right before serving, if desired. If you sprinkle ahead of time, the sugar will disappear into the topping so it’s best to wait. If you want to get fancy, dollop with whipping cream and a little sprinkle of lemon zest. Dive in headfirst.