Meyer Lemon Lavender Bars (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free)

It really is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free!

It really is grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free!

This post is a year in the making.  I am so happy to finally have the recipe to share with you.  Toiling with this is one of those things that you really can only do one change at a time to know exactly what isn’t right in the final product.  Last week when I wasthisclosetoit, I had too much agar agar in it and it was more thick gelatin-like than gooey thick like a lemon bar should be.  It was good, but not great.  Yesterday, I ate a second piece right after the first piece.  The last few days have been rough, so hitting jackpot was a big bright spot for me.  Good things can always happen when you let them.

My first trials with this was to make it egg-free before I was even egg-free.  Then I decided to go back to using eggs and for some reason I was still having problems.  Now that I’m egg-free and Meyer Lemons are abundant in stores, I decided it was time to go back to the first trials.  I use agar agar because it will keep things clear and with most foods when trying to get it to thicken, you don’t need to cook it.  Bonus, it has a nice protein content.

The crust is a press in crust, but you need to use pie weights or dried beans when baking it.  Someone forgot to do it this time around.  *looks around whistling*  You also want to bake it completely because once you add the filling it doesn’t go back in the oven.  Also, my final product is fairly tart since I’m using raw local honey.  You can use palm sugar, but the filling will be a darker amber.  If you still use white sugar, you could use that, too.  Just make sure you taste the filling before adding the agar agar to make sure the filling is at your sweetness level.

This calls for some waiting.  The filling starts to thicken as it cools and it can take an hour or more for it to get thick enough to add the lavender. It will set quicker once it’s in the pan.  Also, I dusted the top with homemade powdered sugar.  The filling sucked it up really fast, but it did give balance to the tartness.

Meyer Lemon Lavender Bars – 9 servings

1 1/2 cups almond flour (I use Honeyville)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup palm shortening (I use Spectrum)

1-2 Tablespoons chilled filtered water

Juice of 6 Meyer Lemons (should yield 2/3 – 3/4 cup), pulp and seeds strained out

1 cup filtered water

1/2 cup raw local honey or palm sugar

1 Tablespoon agar agar powder

1 teaspoon lavender

2 Tablespoons palm sugar

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot.

Preheat oven to 350.  You can grease an 8×8 pan, but I didn’t and nothing stuck to it.  I use a glass pan.  In a medium bowl whisk together almond flour and salt.  Cut in palm shortening with a pastry blender or two knifes until you have coarse crumbs.  Add in a tablespoon of water and stir together.  Add more water a little at a time if it is not forming a big ball of dough.  It will look almost like regular pastry dough, but will feel stickier.  Dump the dough out into your pan and press firmly into the bottom, spreading it out as evenly as possible.  Cover with parchment and weigh it down with pie weights or dried beans.  Bake for 30 minutes and set aside to cool.  Combine Meyer lemon juice, water, and honey or sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil while whisking together well.  Whisk in agar agar powder well.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Check every 15 minutes or so and whisk.  Once it starts to thicken enough to suspend the lavender, whisk in the lavender.  Pour into the pan and let it finish setting.  Before serving dust with powdered sugar or unrefined powdered sugar.  To make the unrefined powdered sugar add palm sugar and arrowroot starch to a coffee/spice grinder and grind until the sugar is a fine powder.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekends at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs; at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free; and Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker.

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars

I’ve had raw foods on my mind lately.  Not salads and such.  But hearty, wholesome, healthy desserts that can also be a snack or part of a well-rounded breakfast without any of the guilt.  I could say it’s part of thinking ahead to Andrew Wilder’s October Unprocessed event at Eating Rules.  But not really.  It’s more likely related to the fact that I had to give up dairy about a month ago and I’m trying to widen my repertoire even more.

After a few tries, I wound up with these Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars that I was pleased with.  I was eating them for snacks, with breakfast, and as a dessert.  Now, if I could only get the Raw Banana Pudding to come together like it should…

One word of warning, store these uncovered in the fridge.  The condensation from covering it will make the crust soggy.  These will keep for at least a week in the fridge.

Raw Lavender Blueberry Bars

Crust: 2 cups almond meal/flour

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tablespoon raw local honey, optional (or other sweetener for vegan option)

Filling: 24 ounces blueberries

2 tablespoons raw local honey (or other sweetener for vegan option)

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon agar agar flakes

1/2 tablespoon lavender, plus more for garnish

Wash blueberries and lay out to dry.   In a small bowl or 1-2 cup glass measuring cup, pour in the water and agar agar.  Mix just a little and set aside.  You want the agar agar to expand quite a bit.  In a medium mixing bowl, add the almond meal, coconut oil, and optional sweetener.  Cut the oil into the almond meal with a fork until small crumbs form.  Transfer the crust mix into an 8 x 8 pan.  Press the crust out to the edges of the dish, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes.  In a large food processor or a blender, place the blueberries, sweetener, and lavender.  Process for at least 30 seconds.  Stop and add the water agar agar mix and then process another 1-2 minutes.  Pour over prepared crust and chill at least 30 minutes.  Cut and serve cold.  Garnish with a pinch of lavender.

This post is linked to Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix at The WHOLE Gang. 

Peaceful Purple Ice Cream

Peaceful Purple Ice Cream

I attempted to do my first SOS Challenge last month with carob.  I wound up with a wicked case of glutening because my carob came into contact with gluten during processing.  Somehow, I missed this important warning on the package when I bought it to use for a recipe test and I didn’t have any outward symptoms when I ate the cookies from the recipe test.  After ingesting a total of 5 tablespoons of the tainted carob chips and feeling like crap by the end of the day, I was done with carob.  I decided to wait it out for the next challenge and it is here.  BLUEBERRIES!

I have to say a big thanks to Ricki (Diet, Dessert and Dogs) and Kim (Affairs of Living) for putting together the SOS Challenge.  I’m hoping as I participate in it more, that it will stretch the limits of my creativity in the kitchen.

I still have ideas for blueberries, but this was the first one I was able to get to do easily.  It was going to just be blueberries.  Then, blueberries with mint.  Then, blueberries with a blueberry sauce swirled in (which can still be done easily with this recipe).  But, I was looking at my spice rack and thought, I haven’t used my lavender in a while.  I know blueberries are the star with the challenge, but if you aren’t using lavender in the kitchen with your food, you are missing out on a great experience.  My first time using lavender was with a Lemon Lavender bundt cake during my gluten-filled days.  It was amazing.

Back to blueberries.  I love ’em.  Blueberry muffins.  Blueberry pancakes.  Blueberries raw and all on their own.  They are definitely my favorite berry.  They are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.  Proof that good things come in small packages.

Peaceful Purple Ice Cream (raw, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan option)

2 cans full fat coconut milk, chilled (I used 365 organic coconut milk, 13.5 ounces each)

1 pint blueberries, washed and dried

1/2 cup raw local honey (vegan option – sub agave syrup, pure local maple syrup, brown rice syrup or another sugar sub of your choice)

1 tablespoon lavender (you can use more or less depending on your preference and comfort level with using lavender in your food)

Place chilled coconut milk, blueberries, and sweetener in a food processor and leave it on until all the ingredients are well blended.  Transfer to a pre-chilled ice cream maker and churn for at least 20 minutes.  Add the lavender the last 5 minutes of churning.  If you choose to make a blueberry sauce or puree to swirl in, add it right after churning and swirl in with a spoon.

This post is linked to Friday Foodie Fix at The WHOLE Gang.