Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gluten-Free Coconut Lemon Bars . . . and a Giveaway! {Winner Announced}

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.

2.  Click on over to Facebook and “Like” The Family Foodie.  Then leave a comment below telling me you did this.  (If you’re already one of the Foodie faithful, just leave me a message that says so.)

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 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.

Good luck!

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

Lemon Custard
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.

Share! It's the right thing to do.

27 Responses to “Gluten-Free Coconut Lemon Bars . . . and a Giveaway! {Winner Announced}”

  1. 1

    Cyn Huddleston — February 18, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

    I am an oats lover. I like mine kind of chewy and not at all gummy. I’d like to try their various kinds to see which one does the trick for me. I already use their flax seed, but my chia is from another source. I would just as soon use Bob’s for chia too. I am glad to see thier section is expanding in the local Randolph Air Force base commissary. It’s easy to buy their products now. So enter me for the drawing. I’m already a fan of the Facebook Foodie. I also have made your recipe for lemon curd and it is good. So glad you love lemons.

  2. 2

    Rachel Woodward — February 18, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    Bob’s chocolate cake mix, steel cut oats, coconut flour, almond flour, EVERYTHING they make!!!! I love them so much.
    I’m already liking you so much on Facebook :). I can’t wait to try these lemon bars, as soon as I reclaim my kitchen from cupcakepaloza that’s just been completed!

  3. 3

    Cyn Huddleston — February 19, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    I want to make sure to claim my second chance to win. Yay! I am a Facebook Foodie friend. FFF

  4. 4

    julie — February 19, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    I would love to win and buy the Bobs Red Mills almond meal/flour

  5. 5

    julie — February 19, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

    I liked you on facebook

  6. 6

    Christine — February 20, 2012 @ 12:26 am

    I would love to try the Tri-color Pearl Couscous. I love couscous, and this looks intriguing.

    I’m already a Facebook fan, so please put me down for two!

  7. 7

    Bhav — February 21, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    I love Bob’s Red Mill products! I trust them. I would love to try their organic Quinoa flour!

  8. 8

    Bhav — February 21, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    I like you on Facebook as Jo Sue

  9. 9

    Jordan D — February 26, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

    I’d try the nutritional yeast and the apple cinnamon hot cereal. I love Bob’s Red Mill, I’m dying to win!

  10. 10

    Jordan D — February 26, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

    I like you on facebook :)

  11. 11

    Meghan Finley — February 27, 2012 @ 11:22 am

    I’d love to try some almond flour

  12. 12

    Meghan Finley — February 27, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    I like you on fb

  13. 13

    Laura — February 27, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    I would love to try Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal!

  14. 14

    Linda S. — February 27, 2012 @ 11:31 am

    I’d love to try their hazelnut flour/meal.

  15. 15

    Esther M — February 27, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    I would love to try some new Bob’s Red Mill products. Our grocery store carries a very limited supply of them. I would want to try the Bountiful Black Bean soup mix, organic brown rice farina, gluten free brownie mix and the Baby Cakes cookbook!

    I am a new reader. Love the blog! The coconut lemon bars look SO good, and this is coming from a girl who isn’t big into either lemons or coconut.

  16. 16

    Esther M — February 27, 2012 @ 11:57 am

    I liked you on FB as well :)

  17. 17

    Jesse (OutToLunchCreations) — February 27, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

    I have always wanted to try out Coconut Flour!

  18. 18

    Debbie — February 28, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    I’d love to blow $50 on a whole bunch of almond flour! Let’s just say that sometimes blanching your own almonds and peeling then is not always as easy as they say it is!

  19. 19

    Debbie — February 28, 2012 @ 3:35 pm

    And I’ve just “liked” your FB page..thanks for starting this giveaway :)

  20. 20

    meredith — February 28, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

    i would get the every meal of the day bundle – seems like a good way to try the products

  21. 21

    meredith — February 28, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

    i Like The Family Foodie on facebook

  22. 22

    Pat — February 29, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

    Im on a paleo diet – I would totally get the Bobs Red Mills almond meal/flour to try to make some diet friendly foods!

  23. 23

    Pat — February 29, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    I’m a new fan of you on facebook

  24. 24

    Cindi — February 29, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    Would love to try the GF Baking Mix.

  25. 25

    Kristen — February 29, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

    I would like to try Bob’s oats and flax.

  26. 26

    Kristen — February 29, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

    I liked u on FB.

  27. 27

    Cheeky Paleo Lemon & Coconut Slices | Eat Drink Paleo — May 23, 2012 @ 2:26 am

    […] is a 4th generation recipe – passed on from Pam Johnston from The Family Foodie to Bob’s Red Mill, then adapted by my patisserie extraordinaire friend from San Fran Jessica […]

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