Krusteaz makes an excellent lemon bar mix even though it comes with a gluten crust that we can’t eat. After speaking to someone at the company a while back and finding out that the lemon bar mix (without the crust) does not contain any gluten ingredients, I took a chance and tried it. And I am so very glad that I did! OK – so you are buying a product that contains something you either have to throw away or give away. This is not ideal, of course. In my case, I don’t want to make lemon bars from scratch, period. I want to pour the Krusteaz mix in a bowl, add some eggs and water and be finished – at least with the lemon part of the equation.
Obviously, you need a crust of some sort with lemon bars and the one I make is so simple to make, you’ll look for reasons to start baking using this delicious crust. Lemon and ginger go quite well together so using gluten-free ginger cookies is a given. We use either the Pamela’s or Trader Joe’s brands but any good gluten-free ginger snap will work. There is a cookie monster in our house that is addicted to ginger snaps – in particular the gluten-free versions I buy specifically for pie crusts!
So, when I can find the cookies I bought for lemon bars, I crush up the entire bag, add some melted butter and that’s it. My gluten-free pie crust is mixed up and ready to be pressed into the pie pan. Specific instructions about the butter to cookie ratio are found on the Pamela’s products recipe page but if you use another brand of cookies, which might have more or less cookies in the bag, you kind of have to wing it. For that reason I suggest people who are not used to using cookies for pie crusts actually use Pamela’s ginger snaps the first time they make a cookie crumb pie crust.
After you make your crust, just follow the instructions on the box for baking it. If you don’t like ginger cookies, use any other cookie you think goes well with lemon bars. Pamela’s makes excellent shortbread cookies and Mi-Del makes gluten-free animal crackers. The latter brand makes both gluten and gluten-free cookies so be sure and read their packages carefully.
The Krusteaz lemon bars are really wonderful but we did not care for the lime bars from the same line – at all. What is really neat about making the lemon bars is that most every glutenoid I serve them to ends up asking me for the recipe. Most of them also comment that the crust is exceptional. As fabulous as the lemon custard part of the dessert is, the gluten-free crust is as good or even better!
Anyone who is not comfortable buying products made in facilities where wheat is processed would not want to purchase anything from the Krusteaz product line. Everyone should buy products that suit their individual requirements. As with any item that is not made specifically for the gluten-free market, label reading is always required in case the ingredients change. We serve the lemon bars with a dollup of homemade whipped cream on top. They are simply delicious!