Thursday, February 26, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...Make Lemon Bars!

Submitted by Michelle

When David and I bought our home in La Quinta I knew one thing for sure: I wanted to plant a lemon tree in the backyard. Not any old lemon mind you, a Meyer lemon tree. Meyer lemons can, at times, be mistaken for oranges because they are so juicy and fragrant. The skin is thinner than a regular lemon and the flavor is amazing. So, said tree was purchased and is now flourishing in our backyard. Right now we have a bumper crop of lemons on the tree so I decided to make one of my favorite recipes --lemon bars! I've tested many a lemon bar recipe and the best I've ever found comes from Susan Branch in her Sweets to the Sweet cookbook.

The process is very simple. First, I made a shortbread-like crust using flour, butter, powdered sugar and a teeny bit of lemon extract (from Penzey's, of course!) I pressed it into an 8 X 8 baking dish and.....
baked it until it was golden brown.
Whilst* the crust baked, I whisked the filling in my mixer. The filling consists of eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, lemon extract, baking powder and flour.
*I love using the word whilst. It sounds so Anne of Green Gables.

Then, I poured the filling over the pre-baked crust and...
baked it again!
When the lemon bars came out of the oven I immediately ran a sharp knife around the edges to avoid a mess when I later cut them and took them out of the baking dish.

With a few sprinkles of powdered sugar, I had a fabulous treat!

Lemon Squares

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter an 8" square pan. With an electric mixer, cream all the ingredients till soft and smooth. (Or, in a food processor, till it forms a ball.) Press dough evenly into pan and bake 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the topping.

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

With electric mixer, beat eggs well and gradually add sugar, until mixture is thick. Gradually add remaining ingredients. Continue beating until crust comes out of oven. Pour lemon mixture over hot crust, return to oven and reduce heat to 325 degress. Bake 30 - 35 minutes till top is golden. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edge. Cool 20 minutes. Cut into squares, remove from pan and sift powdered sugar over the top.


Samantha said...

ok- but what I don't understand is......

How do you stay so thin????

YUMMO! I think I better come over for some of those and that spinach bread!!!

Tiff said...

Our lemon bars are in the oven! We'll let you know how they turn out...
T & C