Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemons

I've been on a lemon kick lately. It started with the buttermilk lemon scones at the coffee place around the corner from school. Then came the batches of lemon bars that would appear when various teachers had kitchen duty (yes, we rotate cleaning the kitchen...and our holiday party is potluck- keep that in mind this season when people are bemoaning company cutbacks to the party budget!) Anywho, back to lemons, I thought it was time to share my favorite lemon bar recipe. The biggest difference is in the crust- this one uses powdered sugar instead of regular to create a very tender shortbread base. It also calls for a lot more lemon than other recipes I've tried (I prefer my lemon bars more tart than sweet). Unfortunately, I killed my lemon trees (extreme neglect) so I'm not enjoying fresh lemons from my own trees this winter.
The recipe is from The Bake Sale Cookbook.



Crust:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. powdered sugar
pinch salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Filling:
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
zest from 1 lemon
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Place the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to combine. Turn the food processor on and add the butter a little at a time until it is all mixed in and the dough is starting to clump together. Press the dough into the prepared pan and bake until light golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Set aside while the filling is prepared:
Combine the eggs, sugar, and flour and mix well. Add the salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix to combine. Pour filling over the crust and bake about 15 to 18 minutes until the filling is just set and a light golden brown. Watch it closely and do not overcook. Cool on a rack to room temperature and then refrigerate at least an hour (I just store them in the refrigerator and pull them out a little before serving so the filling is firmer). Cut into bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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