Citrus bars take bite out of summer Cool: Low-fat and lemony, bar cookies are a refreshing, guilt-free snack.

September 18, 1996|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE

Tangy and sweet, citrus cooler bars are as irresistible as a glass of icy lemonade and as delicious as your favorite bar cookie.

The bottom crust of these low-fat, low-sodium cookies is a combination of flour, oats and sugar, bound together with a small amount of fat-free egg substitutes and canola oil. A little bit of oil in the crust keeps the cookies from developing a rubbery texture as they bake, but it doesn't add a significant amount of fat to each serving. Each cookie has just 1 gram of fat, which is a mere 10 percent of calories from fat.

The sweet-tart topping is delicate lemon custard made from lemon and lime juice, sugar and the remainder of a 1-cup carton of fat-free egg substitutes.

Citrus cooler bars

Makes 32 cookies

CRUST:

nonstick cooking spray

1 1/2 cups flour plus 1 tablespoon flour

1 cup quick oats

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitutes

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

CUSTARD:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitutes, divided use

1/2 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 small lime squeezed)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest (grated rind of 1 large lemon)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the 1 tablespoon of flour in the bottom of the pan and shake it to evenly coat the bottom. Set the floured pan aside while preparing crust.

To make the crust, combine the remaining flour, oats, sugar and salt in a large bowl and stir to mix ingredients well.

In a separate container mix the 1/4 cup egg substitutes, oil, water and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well to form a dry dough. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan.

Using a large sheet of wax paper, press the dough with your hands across the bottom of the pan and up the sides about 1/4 inch. The wax paper will keep the dough from sticking to your fingers. Discard the wax paper and bake the crust for 15 to 17 minutes, or until it is firm to the touch and lightly golden.

In the same large bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch and stir until well mixed. Pour in the 3/4 cup fat-free egg substitutes, lemon juice, lime juice, lemon zest and remaining vanilla extract. Beat with a wire whisk or fork until the sugar has dissolved and no lumps of cornstarch remain.

Pour the custard filling over the crust and bake 20 minutes longer, until filling is set. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into pieces.

Note: If using commercial dried lemon peel in place of fresh grated lemon rind, decrease amount to 1 teaspoon.

Nutrition information per cookie: Calories, 101; protein, 3 grams; carbohydrate, 21 grams; fat, 1 gram (10 percent of calories from fat); cholesterol, 0 milligrams; sodium, 43 milligrams.

Charlotte Balcomb Lane is author of "The Florida Cookbook -- A Lighter Look at Southern Cooking." If you have a recipe you would like streamlined to contain less fat and fewer calories, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Lane at 2411 A Rice Ave., Albuquerque, N.M. 87104.)

Pub Date: 9/18/96

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