April 08, 2011

Frugal Friday - Make it Yourself

 I grew up in a small town in Texas known for one thing... fruitcakes. No, no, not people who act like fruitcakes, actual fruitcakes.  Since 1896, Collin Street Bakery has been making and mailing fruitcakes all over the world.  I don't know who eats them, but I know they make a lot of them.

Since I grew up there, I don't eat fruitcakes.  You were kind of made fun of if you admitted to liking them, but Collin Street Bakery made a host of other yumminess that were a staple at every bake sale and baby shower.  Their lemon bars were always a favorite of mine.  I have no problem admitting that I could often be found by the lemon bar plate at any given party... and the big bonus was that they were always there!

My mom recently found a recipe for lemon bars and mailed it to me.  I have to admit that I was a bit leery to try to make them.  The lemon "custard" part was full of eggs.  Would I cook it too much?  Would I cook it too little and kill everyone with Salmonella?

I'm happy to report that, even after making a few adjustments to the recipe to make them gluten free, no one perished.  In fact everyone liked them... they really, really liked them!

I started with this basic Betty Crocker Recipe, but made a few exchanges and doubled the recipe (honestly who makes a dessert in a 9x9 pan?).  Here's my recipe after the science experiment in my kitchen:

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

You'll need:
2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour - second only to Pamela's, this stuff is a lifesaver
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus a bit extra for garnish)
2.5 cups sugar (yes, I did up the sugar.  Often a necessity when switching from regular flour to gluten free)
The juice and zest of 4 lemons
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs

To make:
Heat oven to 350.
Mix flour, butter and powdered sugar together and press into a foil-lined (and greased) 9x13 Pyrex.  Push some up the sides to create a crust edge.  Bake crust alone for 20-30 minutes.
While crust bakes, beat remaining ingredients together until light and fluffy - I just used a hand grater for the zesting and cut and squeezed the lemons by hand.
Pour lemon mixture over hot crust and bake an additional 30-40 minutes, until lemon mixture is set.
Let cool an hour before cutting into squares and serving.

The original Betty Crocker recipe suggested a non-greased Pyrex, no foil.  I could never cut pretty squares that way, so I lined and greased the pan.  Everything popped out easily and I had one less Pyrex to wash!

Yum!  You can refrigerate any left-overs you may have, but I wouldn't necessarily count on having left-overs!

And don't you dare going throwing all of these lemons away!  Sprinkle them with baking soda and get to scrubbing!  These are the perfect (frugal, natural) solution to the ring around the tub or the stubborn gunk that unshines your kitchen sink.  Then, after you're all done scrubbing, throw these down the disposal...nice and clean!

With the internet, so many things that we grew up loving are easy to recreate.  Just do a bit of research and have a willingness to try, and BAM, you've saved some dough!

Find more ways to stay frugal and sane at www.lifeasmom.com.

No comments: