Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Toaster Oven Tuesday, Week 49, 2015

Sometimes life gives you lemons!   I love lemon bars! But I have never made them, not even from scratch. My dad had put this box of lemon bars in the stuff he gave to me that I brought back in August. I thought this would be a good time to make them.  My mouth was salivating at the thought of them.

The ingredients: lemon bar mix, three eggs, 1/3 cup water.

Mix the eggs and water...

...until they look like this.

Add the 'lemon filling' to the egg mixture and mix with a whisk.  Hmm, something isn't smelling right but I didn't want to taste at this point since it had raw eggs and I was sure my sniffer was smelling right.
 Now, I'm wondering how long these had been in my mom's cupboard.  The box itself looked fresh, there was no "best by" date, but there was a code.  I sent off an email to the manufacturer asking about the code.
Pressed the bag of "crust" into the pan.  I lined it with parchment paper on the bottom and sprayed the sides.  Bake it for eight minutes until lightly browned as in the photo.  So far so good.
 The crust smelled fine, but I'm still wondering about that pouch of lemon filling, it smelled...rancid.  Of course, what could go rancid in it?  I checked the ingredients and didn't see any oils listed.

The finished product.  It set up perfectly, and surely looked good.  Oh so anxious to try it when it's cooled.

 In the meantime, the manufacturer promptly replied with:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding our Krusteaz Lemon Bar Mix. We appreciate your interest and are happy to provide you with additional information.
We have been using a "Best By" date on our retail products since April 2010. With our previous method of coding our products, the manufacturing code was embossed (indented into the cardboard) or printed in dark ink on the top or bottom of the package. The code was based on the date of manufacture and reads as follows:
  • The code starts with two letters. The first number following the letters represents the year of manufacture.
  • The next three numbers represent the number of days into the year (using the 365-day calendar).
Based on the manufacturing code you provided, this mix was produced on 05/11/2006, and expired on 05/11/2007. Our products are safe to use when they are beyond their best by date; however, you may not get the same quality performance (the finished product may not rise as much or it may not taste as fresh).  I would advise against using this product. There is an oil that is in the filling that causes it to go bad." [emphasis mine]

These are the ingredients.  The best I can reason is maybe the "natural flavor" contains real lemon oil and that's what went rancid, or the modified food starch. 
  SO, it appears my mom had this in her cupboard for a very long time.  That's around nine years!  I'm not one to be overly mindful of expiration dates or use by dates...I think I've posted my views on that in the past, but I guess nine years IS a bit extreme.  Maybe I should go check the other mixes I brought back.  I should be learning something here, especially after the recent cornbread mix issue as well.

As it baked and then cooled, I continued to smell some rancidity so I cautiously took the tiniest of tastes when it cooled.  Oh my, and oh yes, it was very rancid!  I was very disappointed after looking forward to delicious lemon bars.  I had to find some mints to get that taste out of my mouth.

Making them in the toaster oven worked very well.  Perfectly in fact.  I will make them again but probably from scratch, so you may see yet another post for them somewhere down the road.  Unfortunately, this batch was bad, and I had to throw them all out.  I wasted three good eggs, but that's a small price to pay.  In loosening the edges from the side of the pan - guess I didn't spray well enough - I broke a spatula.  Not a big loss either, it was a well-used, over 19-year old, plastic one that must've become brittle and it just snapped in two.  I'll enjoy shopping for a new one.

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