These gluten free lemon bars are next-level good, thanks in part to a brown butter shortbread crust. When life gives you lemons, don’t stress — make these lemon bars instead, and everything will be right again. This recipe is a sponsored collaboration with Bob’s Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the brands that I love and use regularly.
We are in the thick of it now. The diapers, the fights over who gets to wear the Elsa dress today, the need for a snack or water every 20 minutes. The bumps, the boo boos, the baths where half the water from the tub is left splashed all over the walls. Some days, I can embrace the chaos. Other days, I am in desperate need of a vacation from it — but since that is far out of reach, I grab one of these gluten free lemon bars instead. And, if even for a few moments, I am transported to somewhere as bright and sunny as the sweet lemon filling in these bars. Did I mention it’s also quiet there? That part is especially nice.
Don’t get me wrong — I love this time of life. It’s not easy, and I am not a perfect parent, but I want to soak up the sweet moments — like when my four-year-old wants to bake with me, or my 22-month-old plants a kiss on my nose just because — and keep them in a jar forever.
But since that’s not actually possible, we just try to take as many moments as we can in the present to be present — to sit around the table and enjoy lemon bars together, for instance. And because these gluten free lemon bars are easy to make, we can make this particular memory happen over and over again.
HOW TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE LEMON BARS
How do you make gluten free lemon bars (with a brown butter shortbread crust, AHEM), anyway? The first step is to make the brown butter. This process is incredibly simple — you just melt and cook butter on the stove until it turns brown. You’ll know it’s nearly there when the bubbles on the surface turn foamy and the golden color of the butter begins to deepen. Once the butter is browned, stick it in the fridge until it solidifies again, just to a firm softness, like a press into your shoulder.
The second step is to make the crust, which is a basic shortbread — just butter, sugar, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour and a pinch of salt. Bake the crust and while it cools, move on to the third step — whisk up the lemon filling. Be sure to use fresh lemons for the lemon juice here — shortcuts will hinder the results, but if you have a good citrus juicer, the process is painless.
Once everything is fully baked, let the bars cool completely — perhaps the most painful part of all — then give them a generous dusting of powdered sugar. I prefer to cut into my bars first before dusting so every single square inch of the tops of the bars is left untouched, like new-fallen snow.
TIPS FOR THE BEST LEMON BARS
Here are a few extra tips for baking the best lemon bars of your life:
1. Don’t skip the foil. Lining the baking pan with enough foil to create handles on each side will help you to lift the bars out of the pan in one block and cutting them on a flat surface, rather than fighting to get them out individually.
2. Whisk the flour slowly into the lemon filling. The flour will want to clump up if you add it all at once to the filling, so pour it in gradually while whisking for a smooth mixture.
3. Store any leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for best results. They’ll keep for about three to four days (if they last that long).
Whatever stage of life you live right now, I hope these gluten free lemon bars can add some sweetness to your day.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- Pinch salt
- 6 jumbo/extra-large eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (from about 4-6 lemons)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
- Powdered sugar, for topping
- Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with enough overhang on opposite ends to use as handles.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Once butter is melted, continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter gets creamy, then foamy and clear and finally begins to turn a golden brown color. Immediately remove from heat; pour into a small heatproof bowl. Refrigerate until butter just returns to its solid form but remains soft, about 1 hour.
- In a large bowl using an electric hand mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream solid butter and ½ cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in 2 cups flour and salt just until a dough forms. Using lightly floured hands or a spatula, gently press dough evenly into bottom of prepared baking pan. Chill 15 minutes.
- Bake dough 17-23 minutes or until just set in center and lightly golden. Set on a cooling rack to cool slightly while you make the filling.
- In a large bowl, whisk eggs until beaten. Slowly beat in 3 cups sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until well combined. Slowly beat in 1 cup flour until mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
- Pour filling on top of hot crust. Bake 30-35 minutes until filling is just set. Cool completely on a cooling rack, about 2 hours.
- Use foil as handles to carefully remove bars from baking pan. Use a very sharp, clean knife to cut into 24 squares. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.