Sadly, when many people think of gluten-free baking, they think that it will pale in comparison to products with wheat. And sadder still, some store-bought gluten-free baked goods really are dry or tough. But by baking using my “secret” (and it’s not a real secret because I’m sharing it with you in the baking tips, under “substitutions”), you too can create gluten-free baked goods that all your friends, both those who eat gluten and those who don’t, will love.
The lemon bars were a favorite of many friends when I baked them with wheat flour. These friends mourned their loss before realizing that the lemon bars would make the transition to “no wheat” without sacrificing taste. In fact, the only thing they sacrifice is a bit of sticking together when the shortbread is created, but no one will care once it’s covered in sugary lemon topping.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cups sorghum flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon peel, grated (about the zest of two lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar
Small amount of sifted powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together sorghum flour, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt. Grease an 8 x 8-inch square pan; pour dry ingredients into pan, and use your fingers to incorporate butter, distributing it so that dry ingredients are moistened. Press into the bottom of the pan, pushing shortbread mixture slightly up the sides. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until lightly browned (convection oven: 325 degrees for 15 minutes).
Prepare topping while base bakes. Beat lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and white sugar for about three minutes. Pour over base and return to oven. Do not use convection oven, as temperature is too low to set eggs. Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, until a finger touching the top will leave an impression. Mixture should be set, but you cannot test for doneness with an inserted toothpick.
When cool, sift powdered sugar over top, and cut into bars. Refrigerate. Freezes well.
My gluten-eating friends said that they wanted my recipe so that they could bake these yummy bars for their gluten-free friends. But you never know. Maybe they’ll bake a batch to enjoy themselves.