As I think we’ve already established, I have a serious addiction to lemons. (Take a look at the header for my blog. See that luscious lemon hanging from its branch? It’s no accident that a lemon is the first thing you see when you look at my blog.) Especially this time of year, when the rain and gloom descends even as far as south Texas, lemons are nothing short of a blessing. They’re bright and cheerful. They’re like edible drops of sunshine. And they smell good. Plus, they’re full of Vitamin C, and you can’t have too much of that stuff during cold and flu season.
So, while lemons are typically thought of as a summer thing, making lemon bars in the middle of February doesn’t strike me as the least bit strange. In fact, it seems entirely fitting. When the fine folks at Bob’s Red Mill contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I’d be interested in trying out their coconut flour, the very first thing that came to my mind was a version of lemon bars that incorporated coconut flour into the crust. I’d never baked with coconut flour before, so I knew I’d need to experiment a little to get it right.
And did I ever experiment. The Girl and The Hubs have been eating coconut lemon bars for the last two weeks.
No one is complaining, mind you.
A few things I’ve learned about coconut flour: it’s very absorbent, which means you need to increase the amount of liquid in a recipe by the same amount of coconut flour you’ve incorporated. (So, for example: if you use 1/4 cup of coconut flour in place of wheat flour, add 1/4 cup of liquid to your recipe.) The first batch of lemon bars I made turned out more like lemon cake for precisely this reason: the crust soaked up all the lemon custard. Baked goods made with coconut flour also bake faster, which means you can shorten your baking time by a few minutes (or, at the very least, start checking them earlier–another lesson learned the hard way. Pun most certainly intended.) Coconut flour is very high in fiber, which means you can feel good about having a treat that’s actually good for you–but it also means you should be careful about pigging out. Otherwise, your stomach may have a little something to say about that. Finally, and best of all, coconut flour is gluten-free.
What I really like about this recipe is that the crust tastes a little like a shortbread cookie, thanks to the addition of almond meal. It’s firm, but not crunchy, and it’s a nice contrast to the gooey topping. I don’t really taste the coconut in coconut flour, although some people say they do–it’s made from finely ground coconut with the moisture and fat removed, so it smells the way you’d expect, but I found the taste pretty mild. That’s why I added flaked coconut to the crust. I tried toasting the coconut first, but I think drying it out encouraged the coconut to absorb more of the lemon custard, and the coconut flour was already doing that job quite effectively. The addition of untoasted coconut provided a nice flavor and a slightly chewy texture. I added more coconut to the top, as well, but if you’re not as coconut crazy as I am, you could always go the traditional route and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead (after the bars have cooled, of course.)
But here’s the best part! The folks at Bob’s Red Mill would like to give one of you the chance to try out their products as well–coconut flour, granola, brownie mix, whatever tickles your tastebuds–and they have generously provided me with a $50 gift card for one lucky reader. I don’t usually do giveaways, but I really love this company and the way they do business. Plus, I’ve never tried a Bob’s Red Mill product that I didn’t like.
How do you enter?
1. Head over to the Bob’s Red Mill website and take a look around. Then add a comment to this blog telling me one of the items you’d like to buy with that $50 gift card.
That’s right, I’m giving you two chances to win. That’s how much I love you. Just be sure to leave two separate comments.
This giveaway will end at midnight CST on Feburary 29th, 2o12. I’ll use Random.org to select one lucky commenter. If you don’t see your comment on the blog right away, it’s because you’re new to The Family Foodie and your comment is awaiting moderation.
And the winner is: Jordan D. (#10)! Congratulations, Jordan. Please use the Contact form on this website (see the link at the top of this page) to send me an email with your mailing address. Claim your prize within 48 hours and get ready to start shopping!
This is a sponsored blog post and giveaway. I received product from Bob’s Red Mill to use in developing the recipe below, and a $50 gift card to share with one reader of The Family Foodie, but I did not receive additional compensation. All the gushing about Bob’s Red Mill products is my own unsolicited and humble opinion.
Gluten-Free Coconut Lemon Bars
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Coconut Flour
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
6 T. unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
Juice of 3 large lemons, plus enough water (if necessary) to equal 2/3 cup liquid
1 T. (packed) lemon zest
1 tsp. Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut for topping (optional)
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with foil, leaving enough overhang to use as a handle. Lightly coat the foil with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, combine the flours, almond meal, sugar, salt, and flaked coconut; stir to combine dry ingredients. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut in the cubed butter, working the mixture until the butter has been reduced to pea-size crumbs. Use your hand to knead the butter into the dry mixture. When all dry ingredients have been incorporated, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is just beginning to brown around the edges.
For the custard: While the crust bakes, whisk together the sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, and baking powder. Remove the hot crust from the oven and pour the custard over the top immediately; return the pan to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup coconut over the custard; bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, just until the lemon topping is set at the center. (If you aren't using the coconut topping, just bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the lemon custard is set at the center.)
Transfer the pan to a rack and let the lemon bars cool completely. Use the foil to move the bars to a work surface when you're ready to cut them. (If you're topping them with powdered sugar, now is the time.)
Assuming you have any left over, these bars can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.