Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Lemon Bars with a gluten-free tweak + book and tote bag #giveaway from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl:

I'm sharing a delicious lemon bar recipe below!!  So don't miss it.  But first...two announcements.


My new suspense FAN MAIL comes out next week. To celebrate, I'm giving away a CHOICE OF MY PUBLISHED BOOKS plus a tote bag to one commenter IF commenter mentions this book to someone. In the comments, you have to tell me WHO...

By the way, the e-book of FAN MAIL is still available at a discount if you preorder.


I just got back from Bouchercon, a writers' conference in Dallas, TX. Had a great time, but I'm exhausted.  Saw lots of friends, fans, librarians, and more. I've shared a bunch of photos on my Facebook author page, but here are a few.

Former MLK'er Jenn McKinlay (left), me, and Lucy
Former MLK'er Julie Hyzy and me
One of my best writing buddies, in my Plothatchers group
Terrific bookstore guys from Murder by the Book
One of my favorite reviewers, Leslie Storey, Storeybook Reviews
With my darling pal Hannah Dennison who has moved back to England!

And, now, here something that is SO DELICIOUS.

I saw this on Sally’s Baking Addiction, from her cookbook, but I tweaked it to be gluten-free.

Lemon Bars (with my gluten-free tweak)

Per Sally, you only need 7 ingredients to make these lemon bars.  For Gluten-free, you need 9 (including xanthan gum and an addition of cornstarch for the lemon curd).

The lemon curd filling is extra thick and creamy and sits on an irresistible butter shortbread crust. 

Note from Sally:  Always bake lemon bars at a lower temperature to avoid over-baking.  Perfect for picnics, bake sales, baby showers, and bridal showers.

I was amazed how perfectly the lemon curd turned out. It was thick and luscious.

Butter: melted butter is the base of the shortbread crust.

Sugar:  do not reduce or the filling will be too wet.

Flour: if you make using Sally’s recipe, this gives structure. I make it using gluten-free items and they worked beautifully.

Vanilla extract:  Sally says not all lemon bar recipes call for vanilla extract, but it’s her best kept secret.

Salt: without the salt, the crust would be too sweet.

Eggs:  Eggs are the structure for the curd. Without them, you will have soup.

2 tricks:

Use a glass pan:  Do not use metal.  It will seep into the lemony taste.

Lemon juice:  No matter what, you must use real lemons. I have a cheap Black and Decker lemon squeezer that worked wonders.

Tip:  If you notice air bubbles on top of your baked lemon bars, don’t fret. It’s normal. It’s from the air in the eggs rising to the surface. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and it will cover them right up.

I halved the recipe and it was plenty. Made a 9 x 9 batch.  Also, I did use a metal pan but the parchment paper I used as a liner kept any metallic flavor from seeping in.

FOR THE Shortbread
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup + 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons gluten-free flour + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 – 3 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Either use a glass pan or line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 9 pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out.  This makes cutting easier.  Set aside.

Make the crust:  In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together.  Add the gluten-free flour and xanthan gum and stir to completely combine.  It will be thick.  Press firmly and evenly into prepared pan.

Pre-bake the crust so it will hold up under the lemon layer.  Bake for 16-18 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. 

Make the filling:  Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Sifting helps!  Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until combined.

Pour filling over warm crust.  Bake the bars for 20-22 minutes or until the center is relatively set and no longer jiggles.  Remove bars from oven and cool completely for about 2 hours at room temperature.  Then stick in the refrigerator for 1-2 more hours until chilled.   Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Freezing:  Yes, they may be frozen.  For up to 3-4 months.  Cut the cooled bars, without confectioners’ sugar topping, into squares.  Place on a baking sheet. Freeze for 1 hour.  Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap and place in a large bag or freezer container to freeze.  Thaw in the refrigerator and then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

These holes are normal!!


Leave a comment and tell me who you TOLD about Fan Mail
(sister, mother, friend, librarian, bookseller??)
and you'll be entered to win a copy of
plus a Savor the Mystery tote bag. 
Winner picked Friday. Leave your email so I can contact you if you win.

Order DESOLATE SHORES, first in series, HERE, trade paperback and e-book

Order SIFTING THROUGH CLUES HERE, trade paperback and e-book

Friend Daryl and Avery on Facebook
Follow Daryl on Twitter
Follow Avery on Twitter
Follow both of us on Pinterest
Plus check out my website
Follow Daryl on Bookbub


  1. Not a fan of lemon anything. But glad you had fun. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

  2. Would love to go to Bouchercon some day. Looks like you had an amazing time! Congratulations on your upcoming release of Fan Mail. I work in a library - will have to see that we have this book on order!

  3. There is nothing like spending time with family and friends. I tell my girlfriends everything, including great books to read!

  4. I told a friend who likes a lot of the same mysteries that I do.
    sgiden at verizon(.)net

  5. Lemon is my favorite flavor and I love lemon bars. I told my sister who reads everything I recommend. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. I think the question is. Who haven't I told. So appreciate the recipe. Love anything with lemon. The tarter the better. deepotter at centurylink dot net

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. I put in a request for purchase to my library. I also told my mom & sister who both enjoy reading suspenseful stories. Enjoyed your pictures from Bouchercon & I love lemon bars!
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  9. I will be sure to let my sister know! I love lemon bars. I have a sackful of Meyer lemons from my little brother's tree. Now I now where some of them are destined to end up.

  10. I connected to Fan Mail via Lucy Burnett’s

  11. A delectable recipe perfect for fall and winter celebrations. In fact I will be making it for my family. Lemon is the best. I told my d-in-l who reads avidly. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  12. I have many co-workers who I will tell about this one. We all have the same choice in reads, sounds good!

  13. I've told my friends and library bppk club

  14. I bet Bouchercon was a blast! I hope to make it someday. I received a copy of Fan Mail from NetGalley and loved it, so please don't enter me in the giveaway.

    Thanks for sharing your lemon bar recipe! I love how lemon desserts can be both rich and refreshing at the same time.

    1. Amanda, thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it. ~ Daryl

  15. Love lemon bars and your take on gluten free is great! I've told my library to order the book, I am currently reading Fan Mail in the ARC you sent! Glad you had a good time at Bouchercon! Thanks for a chance to win.

  16. I have told my sister, Bev Nickel Root, about your new release, "Fan Mail". We talk and share books all the time. Love your books. Thanks for the chance.

  17. I told my mom and my cousin about Desolate Shores and Fan Mail. We talk books all the time. My mom loves your Cookbook Nook series and she's eager to try out your suspense books as well.
    kozo8989 (at) hotmail (dot) com

    1. Alicia, I talked books with my mom all the time, too. ~ Daryl

  18. My friend told me & I told my neighbor & her daughter

  19. I told my neighbor. Love lemon bars-thanks for the recipe!

    jtcgc at yahoo dot com

  20. I shared the post on my FB. Love the recipe and ty for the chance!

    Hi—do the gifts all need to be shipped to us or can they be shipped to individuals? I know shipping all at once to us would be simpler and less expensive, but I didn’t know what was expected and what all info to provide, other than obviously the item description.

    Thanks very much,
    Kara Marks

    1. I'm not sure I understand the question. It's one book and one bag, to one commenter. Make sense? ~ Daryl

  21. My tongue is tingling at the thought of those bars!

    1. Libby, these are truly one of my favorite new things. Coming out at Thanksgiving and Xmas. ~ Daryl

  22. I have a great weakness for lemon bars! And now that my lab results show that I have decreased fully into normal blood sugar range, I will take an opportunity to celebrate with one.
    I mentioned your book to a mystery lover neighbor.

    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  23. I told everyone at our family dinner. My 2 Nieces, 2 nephews, and if anyone else was listening to our conversation, they know about it too.