Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lemon Bars

Oh my goodness! Blogger just deleted my entire post, and I'm annoyed. Okay, let's try this again.

Hi everyone! For those of you living in the Bay Area, I hope you're enjoying this storm that has hit the West Coast, because I am. The torrential downpour. The lightning. The thunder. I'm loving it. Currently, my patio door is opened, making it ridiculously cold in my apartment, but I can clearly hear the rain falling on the ground with the thunder rolling by and it's totally worth it. It sends shivers up my spine and I can't help but smile.

For those of you that hate this wet, dark, weary and dreary weather, I've decided to post about a little ray of sunshine: lemon bars!

Aren't they so bright and scrumptious looking? It's like a little reminder of summer. Or something like that. Anyhow, a fellow friend gave me a bag of lemons from his backyard and I promised that I would use them for evil good. However, I just kind of stared at them for a week, not sure of what I should do with them and no real inspiration hit. Finally, I settled on lemon bars. Lemon bars are one of those things I avoided for a while because I was irrationally afraid of anything curd-like or custard-like (but the creme brulees proved that I was just being ridiculous!). So, after what was over a week, I started to flip through all my bookmarks of various baking blogs and leafed through my various cookbooks to try and figure out what might seem like a good lemon bar recipe. What if it was too tart? What if it was too sweet? What if what if what if? Ridiculous, right? I also wanted to find something that had a good ratio of lemon goodness to shortbread crust (i.e. lots of lemon-y goodness). Something that would also hold together on its own without looking like it was about to melt off the cooling rack. So, in the end, I adapted from Bakerella's recipe.

Let's see what these little lemons can do!

Lemon Bars
Adapted from Bakerella.
Makes one 9"x13" dish.

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
* 1 3/4 cup AP flour
* 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar
Lemon Filling
* 1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
* 1/4 cup AP flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 4 eggs slightly beaten
* 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP lemon juice
* zest of 1-2 lemons (~1 TBSP)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9"x13" pan.

2. Crust: In large bowl, whisk together flour and confectioner's sugar. Cut butter into mixture until crumbly. Press mixture into bottom of pan (it helps if you have a smaller cookie sheet or something flat to make it even). Bake for 20 minutes until lightly golden.

3. While crust is baking, make the filling! In large bowl, combine whisk together sugar, flour, and baking powder. Then, add in beaten eggs, lemon juice, and lemond zest. (I actually also added about 2 TBSP of heavy whipping cream here because I had some. I don't think it made much of a difference.) Mix well and pour onto warm, baked crust.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and a slight crust has formed on top. Let cool on wire rack, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Slice into bars, dust with confectioner's sugar, and enjoy cold!

These bars were tasty. Not too sweet, and not too tart. The only thing I would want to change is to have more lemon filing, but that's because I am a fruit fiend and don't care too much for shortbread. But that's all for now. :)

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