A Spot of Sunshine

That’s right. I put off blogging until February. January is a gray, twigs against the sky, holiday-less, snow boot kind of month. It’s the kind of month that I just put my head down and get through one day at a time. January, I decided, has no place in my blogging schedule. Plus, after the holidays, I was dying to take a month just to recharge and reorganize my life.

I grazed through leftovers in my fridge for weeks, making vegetarian chili, taco salad, burgers, occasionally eating carrots and cheese for dinner because I didn’t want to cook or have to clean the kitchen again. I spent the month staring at the same kinds of bread in my freezer, not even bothering to use my bread machine. I started looking at all the great ingredients I have accquired, and started feeling too lazy to cook much of anything. I am a poor excuse for a foodie these days.
HOWEVER.

I was finally motivated by some company. My friend Carissa and I decided to spend an afternoon craft store shopping and making Valentine’s Day cards, and as I got off the phone with her, my first thought was “Maybe I could get away with serving pre-made cookies and milk.” My second thought was “Wow…time to get outta the sweat pants and into the kitchen again.” So I did.

I had recently accquired several Meyer lemons from Whole Foods. I’d been dying to try some and, if I liked them, I was planning on finding a small tree to keep in my apartment! Coincidentally my mom had sent me a recipe for GF Lemon Bars before my month of malaise, and I was eager to try them. I will admit that this was an extremely nervewracking thing for me to plan, because I hadn’t truly baked from scratch since becoming gluten free. All those little bags of flour intimidated the crap out of me. Don’t ask me why, but I’ll bet most gluties have had similar initial reactions. You think you can make things from mixes forever, but eventually the cost is completely prohibitive. This was the day to break the cycle.

These Meyer Lemon Bars were an absolutely wonderful, tart, sweet, sunshiney way to begin February. They were sweeter than a traditional lemon bar, since Meyer lemons have a sweeter and richer taste that lacks the tart punch that a traditional lemon packs. I am now a Meyer lemon convert thanks to the many MANY recipes that I’ve seen on other blogs that got me interested in trying them.

The biggest compliments that I recieved for these were these, in order of awesomeness: 1) My amazing and wonderful boyfriend doesn’t like fruity desserts. He ate half a pan of these beauties and asked when I’d be making some more. He’s asking as I write this. 2) Our friend Chad said he couldn’t tell they were gluten free. I almost cried with joy.
Meyer Lemon Bars
Adapted from Living Without Magazine

Makes 16 to 20 Bars

Crust

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups gluten-free flour blend of choice (I did end up using the one featured with the recipe. It was AWESOME! I highly reccommend it, but if you have another that makes a nice shortbread, that’s basically the consistency)
½ cup powdered sugar

Filling

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Zest from two small lemons or finely grated lemon peel
¼ cup gluten-free flour blend of choice
1-2 teaspoons powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper for easy removal.

To make the crust, melt butter in the microwave in a medium glass bowl. Add the flour blend and powdered sugar. Blend with a fork. Press mixture into prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

To make the filling, combine eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, zest and flour blend.
Pour this mixture over hot crust and bake at 325 degrees for 18 minutes. The lemon layer should not brown.
Remove bars from the oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool completely.
To remove bars, hold on to the parchment paper and lift bars from the pan as one whole piece.
Cut into individual bars with a sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between cuts. Store bars in the refrigerator until eaten.

Note: For best results in this recipe, your gluten-free flour blend should contain xanthan gum. If it does not, add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum per cup of flour blend.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

MAKES ABOUT 4¼ CUPS
This recipe can be doubled or tripled to make as much as you need.
1 cup brown rice flour
1¼ cup white rice flour
¼ cup potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
¾ cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
3 teaspoons xanthan gum
Mix all ingredients together. Store unused flour mix in the refrigerator.
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11 Responses to “A Spot of Sunshine”

  1. Erin Swing Says:

    These look great! I’m glad I found your blog. I saw your comment on Gluten Free Girl and followed you here. I just blogged about my favorite pasta that I can’t live without – please check it out:
    http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/

  2. Erin Swing Says:

    These look great! I’m glad I found your blog. I saw your comment on Gluten Free Girl and followed you here. I just blogged about my favorite pasta that I can’t live without – please check it out:
    http://thesensitiveepicure.blogspot.com/

  3. kitschen Says:

    Hi Erin! Thanks for checking me out 🙂 Your blog is wonderful too!

  4. kitschen Says:

    Hi Erin! Thanks for checking me out 🙂 Your blog is wonderful too!

  5. jenallyson Says:

    I want lemon bars! so bad! please send them to me…

    Jen Allyson (From 2peas)

    the project girl

  6. jenallyson Says:

    I want lemon bars! so bad! please send them to me…

    Jen Allyson (From 2peas)

    the project girl

  7. jennyap Says:

    Oooh I have to try these!

  8. jennyap Says:

    Oooh I have to try these!

  9. Anonymous Says:

    You are awesome. I love how your vintage table photographed for the Celebration Meal.

    I’m hungry. Love, MOM

  10. Anonymous Says:

    You are awesome. I love how your vintage table photographed for the Celebration Meal.

    I’m hungry. Love, MOM

  11. Gluten-Free Cranberry Bars « Die Hard Foodie Says:

    […] cup white sugar 1 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 2 1/2 cup flour* 1/2 tsp xanthan gum 1/2 cup almond meal 1 cup cold butter 1 egg 1/4 tsp cinnamon juice of 1/2 […]

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