Aaaaah, Lemon. How do I love thee, let me count the ways. Sliced on top of some fish, then tossed in the grill with some olive oil, salt and may be a sprig if fresh herbs. Or mixed with balsamic vinegar, basil, garlic and basted onto boneless, skinless chicken breast as it sizzles away under the broiler. There’s always the refreshing, crowd pleasing lemon sorbet, or, of course the official drink of summer, lemonade, spiked with a shot of raspberry vodka and some fresh raspberries, a beautiful sunset, a roaring campfire, those you love the most and life is perfect. But, for me it’s lemon bars.
Farmers Market fresh lemons (go early, get the best selection) a few ingredients and suddenly you’re whisked away on a simple culinary fantasy like no other. The Lemon Bar, humble and unassuming, yet the Queen of Bar Cookies! Here’s my very favorite recipe, note the hint of almond in the crust. Just enough for people to say “What is that flavor?” Keep them guessing, and never let anyone know how easy these are to make! Lemon Curd Squares When zesting and juicing a lemon, always zest first. Use a zester or grater and make short, sweeping strokes, rotating the fruit slightly after every 1 or 2 swipes. Avoid removing the white pith, which imparts bitterness. To extract the most juice, press and roll the lemon on the countertop to crush it slightly, cut in half and squeeze. I like to squeeze through my hand to catch any seeds. Be careful not to over squeeze, you don’t want to end up with pith in your lemon juice, it will become too bitter.
For the crust: 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 teaspoon almond extract 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces For the filling: 1 cup granulated sugar 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest 3 eggs, 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice 3 Tbs. Heavy Cream Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Directions to make the crust: preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 9 inch square baking dish, I like the heavy bottom gold bakeware. In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse briefly until blended. Add the butter and pulse until the dough forms moist crumbs and sticks together when pinched, about 1 minute. There should be no trace of dryness. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, dampen your fingertips to prevent sticking if necessary.
Bake the crust until pale golden, 20 to 22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the crust to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.
Prepare the filling. To make the filling, in a bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, salt and lemon zest. Add the eggs, lemon juice and cream and whisk until just blended. Carefully pour the mixture over the baked crust. Bake until the filling is set but still jiggles slightly when the dish is gently shaken, about 23 minutes.
Transfer the pan to the wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes. Cut into 15 small rectangles. Using a spatula, carefully remove the bars from the dish. Just before serving, sift a dusting of confectioners sugar over the bars. Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 40 minutes Servings 15 // Enjoy.
Hi! I’m Ali (pronounced alley). I’m 40 (something) – live in Oconomowoc with my husband of over more than 15 years, 3 kids, 1 “senior citizen” cat, Gus, and a 2 year old Jack Russel, Tubbs. We lead, as everyone does, a hectic life of carpools, sports, social activities and much coveted downtime! My oldest starts High School in the fall (I am not certain how that happened as she was really only just born!)
As a private caterer/event planner I am known for over the top crazy themed parties for kids and adults and I am thrilled to be joining The Lake Country Mom to share all things party, tips and tricks, and quick and easy recipes. I keep threatening to start a blog, and this may push me to actually do it, when I do I’ll be sure and let you know! Until then you can find me here!