Monday, July 7, 2014

Recipe Makeover: 3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars - Veganized!

Can you really make anything with just three ingredients? Outside of, say, "mommy's vitamin water" (lemonade, ice, vodka -- don't judge)?

Well, sure... if one of the ingredients is a cake mix, which arguably has a bunch of ingredients, but since I only have to open one box, I'll concede it is "one ingredient."

This recipe popped up in my Facebook feed the other day. Intrigued, I read the ingredients, remembering that, back in the day, Duncan Hines used to make a vegan yellow cake mix. The author advises using only real butter, as she doesn't know how margarine would work, but I conveniently ignored that part.

I headed to the store, beelined for the baking aisle, and learned that my Duncan Hines yellow mix of yore still appeared to be vegan, but had one intolerable ingredient: Red 40. As many of you may know, Curlytop and Snugglebug both have a crazy allergy to red dye, so that particular mix was out. I fruitlessly searched for an alternate yellow cake mix, but was met with more Red 40, and lots of dairy ingredients.

Weary, but not defeated, I visited the nutrition aisle, where I found an organic vanilla cake mix devoid of dairy and dyes. SCORE! While I was there, I looked for some organic lemon pie filling, but didn't find any. *sigh*

Back to the baking aisle I went, only to find that all the cans of lemon pie filling had eggs in them. Gah! I was almost ready to chuck the cake mix and bolt from the store when a jar of yellow stuff caught my eye. It was a store brand, in a glass jar. A review of ingredients assured me that I could proceed, without eggs. Woot!

I used my favorite vegan stick margarine, and it turned out fine. Don't let the sweet lady with doubts about using anything but real butter scare you away from this recipe, because it's actually a genius dessert that turns out far fancier than anything so simple has a right to. I actually allowed the margarine to soften just a bit, but didn't let it warm to room temperature, and it worked out splendidly.

This is a "sweet lemon" dessert, rather than a tangy one. That means you won't have the same reaction as this super-cute baby when you taste it:

Here's how I did it:

Vegan 3-Ingredient Lemon Crumble Bars

1 box yellow or white vegan cake mix (check for dairy ingredients or Red 40, if allergies are an issue)
1 stick vegan margarine, slightly softened (not room temperature)
1 can or jar lemon pie filling (check for eggs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and oil the inside of a 9" x 13" casserole dish.

In a stand mixer, combine cake mix with stick margarine, mixing on medium-low speed until fine and crumbly.

Set aside 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the crumbly mix, and dump remaining mix into bottom of casserole dish, pressing down firmly into an even layer.

Scoop the lemon pie filling onto the top of the pressed mix, and spread evenly.

Sprinkle the reserved crumbly mix evenly over the top of the lemon layer.

Bake for about 25 minutes, checking at 20. The top crumbs should just begin to develop a golden brown color.

Remove from oven, allow to cool, then chill before serving.

"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

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