Sunday, April 1, 2012

Healthy Lemon Bars

Yesterday I spent an awful lot of time in the kitchen working on a couple recipes. Miles even commented, "Was that a really involved recipe?" As I was looking at my photos I realized that having to take pictures of every step of the cooking process doesn't help me get out of the kitchen fast! That is what slowed me down. So the answer is NO! This isn't a very involved recipe. But I took 102 photos of my cooking yesterday. It is important to have decent looking pictures. You won't make my food if it doesn't look good, right? On to the recipe!

My April/May issue of Clean Eating arrived a week or so ago. I did my usual quick skim through and found these lemon bars at the back! I wanted one ASAP! However they use a different kind of lemon called a Meyer lemon and I wasn't sure I could find them in Willmar. But lo and behold I did find them. At Wal-Mart of all places.

A whole bag of them and just like it says they are sweet and tart!

So off to lemon bar work I went! I also needed to pick up this spelt flour. Spelt flour is a primitive relative of our modern day wheat. It has a distinct nutty flavor so I also wouldn't substitute it in this recipe but you can. The recipe actually calls for light spelt flour but the regular is what I could come by. I think it would make a slight difference to have the light version but I was satisfied with this. In my food processor I combined one cup of this flour with.....

 4 tablespoons of evaporated cane juice. Don't let the word juice fool you. It isn't in liquid form. Evaporated cane juice is a "clean" alternative to sugar because it doesn't undergo the same amount of processing as refined sugar so it holds onto its nutrients. You can find this in the health food aisle of stores.

Also in the food processor went 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. I actually used butter this time if you can believe it but I am sure earth balance would have worked. I was just trying to stick with the recipe this time. You do need the butter to be cold. I pulsed that all together in the processor until it was crumbly. I needed to add another tablespoon of butter because I had added a wee bit too much flour. I was still a bit skeptical that it
would come together in the pan but it did.

This is what it looked like pressed into the pan.  Just start pressing it down with the palm of your hand and then with the back of a spoon to get it nice and firm. Put this in the oven for 10-14 minutes at 350 degrees.

While that is cooking get started on the topping. The Meyer lemons are a darker yellow color and they definitely have a different taste then a regular lemon so do not think you can get away with substituting! You need to zest two lemons and juice them.

I used my favorite little friend to juice them. I have one to give away this week for my 100th post blog giveaway so maybe you will get to have a favorite friend too. The recipe said that I would get about 1/2 cup lemon juice from 2 lemons. It took me 3 lemons so maybe theirs were bigger.

Into a bowl I combined the lemon zest and lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the spelt flour, and 2 more tablespoons of the cane juice.

You also need  1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of sea salt.

Plus two large eggs.
You need to whisk that all togther until it is a pale yellow and well combined.

When the crust has finished baking you will pour this mixture over the top evenly and put it back into the oven for 10-12 minutes or until completely set. Let them cool completely before you cut into them.

Then dig in and enjoy the very surprising taste of these lemon bars! Here is the other problem with taking 102 photos. I can't decide which one is my favorite so you get them all today! You can pick your own favorite.

We loved the subtle sweetness of these compared with their traditional counterparts which can be overly sweet for me. We also loved that they had no gelatinous center that was hard to cut, messy, not like real food, and just plain weird. In addition, these had the perfect sweetness to them that there was no need to dowse them in powdered sugar either. I think I should make them again and have a tea party!

In other news this is post number 98! I have one more to share with you and then it will be giveaway time so stayed tuned this week to see how you can win! I promise there is good stuff to be had and I will ship it to you if you live out of town.

Also, thank you to everyone who shared my popcorn post through a link or through email. You have greatly increased traffic to my blog making that post the 2nd most visited post of all time. I am very happy that you shared, not just for the sake of blog traffic, but so that people are informed and for your health and the health of your friends and family too.

Meyer Lemon Bars
Clean Eating Magazine April/May 2012 Issue

Olive oil cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. light spelt flour, divided
4 tbsp. organic unsalted butter
6 tbsp. organic evaporated cane juice, divided
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced (about 2 tsp. zest and 1/2 cup juice)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mist an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
2. In a food processor, combine 1 cup flour, butter, and 4 tbsp. cane juice and pulse until mixture resembles cornmeal, 8-10 pulses. Spoon mixture into baking dish and firmly press into bottom, spreading evenly. Bake until fine cracks appear and edges being to brown, 10-14 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine lemon zest and juice, eggs, remaining 2 tbsp. flour, and 2 tbsp. cane juice, baking powder and salt. Whisk until pale yellow and well combined, 45-60 seconds. Remove crust from oven and pour lemon mixture over top, spreading evenly. Bake until set, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely in dish. Cut into 16 bars.

1 comment:

Lori said...

Pam-Thank you for your effort, time, and portions of goodness for us all to get healthier:)You ROCK:)!