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No Such Thing as “Close Enough”: Lemon Bars (Gluten Free Option)


January 24, 2013

Recipe: Lemon Bars

I had a scare. A doctor’s appointment that turned into hushed voices outside the room. Calm facts being rattled away at me, although I heard nothing. The advice that they do surgery in three days “just to be sure”, that it was likely “minor”, and the words that it was, of course, though “up to me”.

Lemon Bars (Gluten Free Option)

Lemon Bars (Gluten Free Option)

And I was one of the lucky ones. A few days post surgery and in a doped up sleep, in the midst of admitting I am only human and sometimes need help, came the news that “probably nothing” had indeed turned out to be “nothing”.

The relief I felt belied a bravado that I had tried to put forth. Of sarcasm and critiques of the medical profession that masked my deep fear of being out of control.

Pitbull and Mastiff-Lab Mix

Duke and Lou…my sweet nurses.

The mandated slow-down and recovery is not my forte, despite Duke and Lou’s adamantΒ desire to keep me safely wedged in a full body snuggle at all times. At one point, squished between two happily snoring dogs who would wake only to stretch, stand up, circle once, and flop down on top of me I grumpily told them, “You’re close enough.”

They both looked at me like the fool that I was, and in that moment, I realized there is no such thing as “close enough” with the ones we love.

My couch arrest lasted only so long and inevitably I found myself in the kitchen. Remembering this recipe from when I was little I made the Sunset buttery lemon bars of my youth. I’ve had many others over the years, but in my book, none are as good as these with their buttery crust that crumbles in your mouth, bright lemon filling, and powdered sugar dusting. I made this version gluten free, just to see if it would work, and it did, making it a huge hit amount my #GF neighbors who I demanded come eat it and take it away from me. It’s even better with real flour and best made for a party as this is not one that gets better with age.

Lemon Bars (Gluten Free Option)

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars. Delicious with tea, coffee, or bubbles!

  • 1/2 lb butter, softened
  • 1/2 c powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour, scant (gluten free flour will work)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c white sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 6 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9×13 pan.
  2. Beat butter and powdered sugar until creamy.
  3. Blend in flour until well combined.
  4. Press into pan, so it makes an evenly thick layer. (You can do this with your hands and plastic wrap if you like.)
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, beat eggs until light. Add white sugar, beating until thick and lemon colored.
  7. Add lemon peel, juice, and baking powder. Beat until smooth.
  8. Pour over crust, return to oven, and cook another 15 – 20 minutes or until pale golden.
  9. Let pan cool on cooling rack, and once cool dust with powdered sugar and slice into squares.
Tray lemon bars

And suddenly everything is right in the world, when this comes out of the oven.


  1. I loooove lemon bars; it’s nice to know they can be made gluten-free, too.

    And so glad to hear that you are recovering and that it did indeed turn out to be “nothing”!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thanks Allison, me too! Not going to lie, these are better with regular flour, but they were pretty dang close with gluten-free too, which makes them a very nice option for entertaining when you’ve got a mixed crowd in terms of diet restrictions.

  2. Karista says:

    Erina I am so thankful all turned out well. I wish I’d known, I would have brought you dinner. Or walked your two adorable puppies! And look at you, up and about baking GF Lemon Bars. πŸ™‚ They look like a winning (and liftetime) recipe. Take care and do let me know if there is anything I can do for you. HUGS!!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thank you Karista! I was just going nuts with boredom, so suddenly I found myself in the kitchen, comme toujours. It’s hard not to have a smile when you eat these cheerful little bars.

  3. Hannah says:

    Oh my, Erina, I am so relieved to know that you are ok! I, too, wish I’d known…I’ll always happily cook for you. Lemon bars are indeed a bit of delicious sunshine! Take good care of yourself. xx

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Oh my goodness, did I misplay this. All these fabulous food bloggers who would have brought food? Come to think of it…I am not feeling better! You should probably all come over immediately.

      πŸ™‚ How lucky am I to have such great friends (and chefs!). Thank you Hannah!

  4. I 3rd that! I would have happily brought you food, trashy magazines and smuggled (I mean walked) your dogs for you! I am glad everything is alright!!! xoxoxoxo

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      My version of trashy magazines was watching two seasons of Friday Night Lights on Hulu. Mindless, but good. You can smuggle, snuggle, or walk our dogs anytime my dear!

  5. Maman says:

    Thank goodness all’s well with your lemon bars AND with
    everything else. Here’s to the healing powers of Vitamin C.

  6. albertocook says:

    I am so relieved to know that you are ok.
    This recipe is delicious!

  7. Eileen says:

    Surgery is never fun, even when it turns out that everything’s ok. I hope you have a swift and easy recovery! These lemon bars will obviously help with that part. πŸ™‚

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thanks Eileen. Feeling much better today, and going to go back to boxing tomorrow and give that a try. Get those endorphins pumping! (and work off all those lemon bars!)

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Yes indeed. Fresh lemon juice is really the way to go with these, although in a pinch the bottled 100% lemon juice will do.

  8. Ann says:

    Oh my goodness! Thank goodness it was nothing. Hope those lemon bars bring some sunshine to your life. Rest well, Erina!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thank you so much Ann. Resting is something I am not very good at, but I’m working on it! Thank goodness for great blogs like yours to pass the time via afternoons perusing them!

  9. I love all things lemon! These look great and glad to hear nothing turned out to be nothing. Rest up.

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      I’m sensing a theme in these comments.


      I’m going to have to work on that.


      Thanks for your well-wishes. So appreciated.

  10. Julia says:

    I love lemon bars!! I haven’t tried making them myself but will have to try it out. They seem pretty easy too. πŸ™‚

  11. Kay says:

    Wishing you well on your recovery. Getting back into the kitchen to make something yummy, sunny and bright must have been a great morale boost!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      How right you are Kay. It really did cheer me up. It never ceases to amaze me how a warm meal (or lemon bar) can do that. Thanks for your sweet words.

  12. Danny says:

    Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery and strong enough to bake. Take it easy as long as you can. Love lemon squares and they make me feel so good after just one bite — hope they brought a smile to your face πŸ™‚ Take care!

  13. Mary says:

    I’m so glad nothing really was nothing. Your doggies are gorgeous – as are your lemon bars πŸ™‚
    Mary x

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thank you so much Mary. We are quite partial to our pups as well. As for the lemon bars…they didn’t even last 12 hours!

  14. Geni says:

    I am so glad everything is OK. It is scary when we realize that we not indestructable but having those two big cutie pies to snuggle with I’m sure was a huge help. These lemon bars look like just the thing to make you feel a little better. I love the Sunset version as well!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thanks Geni. You called it..these two dogs of mine are big snugglers and big babies despite their giant heads. Hard not to be cheerful with them checking in on you every little bit. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. These bars look great and your backyard is so pretty! I miss having a large outdoor space. Glad to hear that you are on the mend!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Sydney…I never think my backyard looks as nice as others so THANK YOU!! The sunny spot on the table is the only spot for shooting winter food pix, so that’s where it happens. Good thing you couldn’t see the mud puddle by the fence. πŸ™‚

  16. I just had a hankering for lemon bars the other day, so this recipe is timely, Erina! I’m so sorry to hear about your scare, but glad that it turned out to be nothing. I hope you recover well and feel better soon!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thanks Christie. Feeling better every day and so excited to be all clear! Hope you’re having a good start to 2013.

  17. I’m happy to hear that your surgery went well. We had our family member who recently went through surgery and it is pretty nerve wrecking whether surgery is small or big. Glad yours is over and you are doing well. Gosh I wish I have this lemon bars for my tea right now. I’m just drinking tea and have no good sweets around my house!

  18. Glad to hear that things turned out well. I love lemon desserts of any kind and these bars look super yummy!

  19. laurasmess says:

    Hello there! Just wanted to say that your blog is beautiful… I’ve just discovered it and I’m absolutely in love with your gorgeous dogs πŸ™‚ Glad that you’re feeling much better now. The lemon bars look absolutely delicious, I’ll definitely be trying them in my kitchen! Take care, thanks for sharing your stories and recipes with us!

    • Shut Up & Cook says:

      Thank you so much, Laura. It is always such a treat to hear from new readers who are enjoying the blog. Makes it all worthwhile.

      I’ll tell Duke and Lou (the pups) that you thought they’re good looking to boot. πŸ™‚

  20. I hope you are well now, honey πŸ™‚

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