There’s nothing like the fresh spring taste of Gluten Free Lemon Bars! They’re the perfect party treat with a whole lot of sweet and a little punch of lemony tartness.
Is it spring or summer around here??? As far as I can tell, it may be a little bit of both. Not only does our weather keep bouncing back and forth between the temperature of a frying pan and that of a perfect spring day, but my kiddos are out of school indefinitely.
Yes, I said indefinitely. The #RedForEd movement is going strong here in Arizona where the majority of certified teachers are on strike in hopes for an increase in teacher pay and student funding. Basically we’re enjoying “summer” over here until further notice, which is where these gluten free lemon bars come in.
Instead of plopping in front of the television and twiddling our thumbs, wondering when school is back in session, I’ve been trying to keep the kiddos actively engaged these past few days. We’ve already graced our presence at the Arizona Science Center, Wet n’ Wild water park, the neighborhood pool, and participated in a weekend gymnastics meet. We’ve also created homemade slime (never again), crafted a model desert pocket mouse habitat for an upcoming school project, hosted multiple visiting family members, and baked our fair share of treats.
Yep, you know I don’t give up baking even when my kids are banned from school.
Gluten Free Lemon Bars
A friend of mine graciously gifted me an entire grocery bag of lemons from her backyard. Naturally, as in NO BRAINER, I decided to whip up a batch of Gluten Free Lemon Bars. Where have these gluten free lemon bars been all my life???!
Of all the treats I have transformed into gluten free showstoppers, I had never attempted a recipe for basic lemon bars. Maybe it’s because my mom is the queen of lemon bars and I was afraid mine would fail in comparison. Literally, neighbors know her by these luscious lemony treats and they sit by their doors in anticipation every holiday season waiting for a plateful of these goodies.
What makes the perfect Gluten Free Lemon Bars?
- Fresh squeezed lemon juice – When I say fresh, I mean FRESH! I’m telling you, it makes a huge difference in taste between using fresh lemon juice and bottled lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice creates more of a “sour” lemon bar, whereas fresh lemon juice creates more of a “tart” lemon bar. In my opinion, tart is more pleasing to the taste buds rather than bearing down for a sour pucker in each bite.
- Lemon rind – To give your gluten free lemon bars added flavor, zest at least two lemon rinds into your filling. It adds that lemony punch without having to add more liquid to the custard.
- Cold butter – Just like making a pie crust, you want the butter to be cold for the shortbread crust. I like to grab my butter straight from the fridge and cut it into my dry ingredients with a pastry blender. The crust will seem dry, but pour it into your pan and press down to form a sturdy, compact crust. It will bake up perfectly! If your butter is too warm, a sticky dough will form which is nearly impossible to spread across the pan.
- Cool the crust – You must bake your lemon bar crust first and let it completely cool before pouring your custard filling on top. If the crust is still warm when you pour the filling on top, it will become soggy during the second bake. Ain’t nobody want soggy lemon bars around here!
- Patience – I know it’s hard, but you must wait for these lemon bars to completely cool before eating. If you dig in while they’re still warm, the crust will not be set and the filling may still be runny. Great things come to those who wait, my friends.
How to eat Gluten Free Lemon Bars?
Now here’s the big debate: How must one eat a gluten free lemon bar??? Oh, let me tell you the ways.
- Chilled – I’m a sucker for a chilled lemon bar. Sure they’re good room temperature, but stick them in the fridge for an hour and you’ve got a refreshing treat.
- Whipped cream and fresh fruit – Literally, “whip” up some fresh whipped cream and garnish those rays of sunshine with some seasonal berries. Somehow adding fresh fruit to my desserts makes be feel better about eating them. What do you think?
- Ice cream – I’m all about chilling my gluten free lemon bars, but if I’m feeling really indulgent I slightly warm them and add a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. The ice cream melts into the warm custard and it’s like eating a lemon pie fresh from the oven. Pure heaven.
What Gluten Free Flour to use?
I have made these gluten free lemon bars with both Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour and Cup 4 Cup Multipurpose Flour. I actually preferred the Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Baking Flour in this recipe because it created a flakier crust. Most gluten free all purpose flours should work in this recipe, but I can only 100% vouch for the success of the Bob’s Red Mill brand.
Also, because I’m not a fan of the overuse of xanthan gum (it creates a chewy or gummy product), I mixed the gluten free flour with very finely ground almond flour. Nature’s Eats Blanched Almond Flour is on point! Almond flour works really well to create a tender crumb in high fat recipes, and since the crust calls for two sticks of butter, the almond flour worked perfectly. You may opt to use solely gluten free all purpose flour for both flours in this recipe instead of a mixture, but the crust will be slightly denser.
So how about joining us in our springtime partying by baking up a batch of these gluten free lemon bars?! They’re sure to be a crowd pleaser and I can attest there’s not many better uses for lemons out there. Wink, wink.
Gluten Free Lemon Bars
Gluten Free Lemon Bars
For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups high quality gluten free all-purpose flour I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1
- 1/2 cup high quality finely ground almond flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 sticks cold butter
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest 1-2 lemons
- 1/4 cup high quality gluten free all-purpose flour I used Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1
- dash of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Begin making crust. Mix together gluten free flour, almond flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until small pea sized pieces of dough form. Dough will be crumbly and somewhat dry at this point.
- Dump dough into pan and spread out evenly. Gently press down with tips of fingers or back of a spoon to form an even layer all the way to the edges of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set on cooling rack. Allow crust to cool completely to touch.*
- Begin making filling. Whisk all filling ingredients together until smooth. Pour over cooled crust. Jiggle to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (mine took 30) or until golden brown on the edges and set in the middle.
- Remove from oven and set on cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Before serving, cut into squares with a sharp knife. Make sure to loosen edges of bars with knife. After cutting, sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in fridge for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 3 months.
Nothing quite screams “SPRING!” like a loaf of this Gluten Free Lemon Almond Pound Cake; an intensely moist lemon pound cake drizzled with a vanilla almond glaze. This is what spring dreams are made of!
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