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Monday, May 2, 2011

Lemon Bars

Remember that whole "obey your parents" thing I talked about when I made the mango chicken? The same goes for grandparents! Last time I saw my grandma, she pulled a folded photocopy out of her purse and assured me that the paper held the recipe for the best lemon bars ever.

If you know my grandma, you know she's no foreigner to lemon-flavored desserts. They rank right up there with her love for red raspberry custard from Kopp's! Thus, I safely tucked the recipe in the confines of my own purse, where it sat for a few weeks. Every so often I'd be rifling through my purse, hunting for my keys or my phone or a stick of gum, and I'd pull out the folded piece of paper. Each time I'd make a mental note: "must make lemon bars", before slipping it back into my black hole of a purse.

A few weeks ago I stocked up on lemons and set about to make these bars. Okay, confession, I actually had plans to make another lemon dessert, got a liiiiiiittle overzealous in my attempt to soften butter speedily, and ended up with a melted stick of butter. I remembered that this recipe called for melted butter and I put aside my original plan in lieu of these lemon bars.

Thank goodness for the melted butter mistake, as I'm glad we didn't have to go a day longer without sampling these! Buttery shortbread finished with a smooth lemon filling--I can't think of a better Spring dessert! These bars ranked right up there with Ryan's birthday lemon tart and needless to say, he couldn't get enough of these. Grandma was right--best lemon bars ever!

One Year Ago: Spinach Chicken Pasta Salad with Teriyaki Vinaigrette (many people have made this and raved about it!)

Lemon Bars
from USA Weekend (newspaper insert)

for the crust-
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
-1 stick butter, melted (but not hot)
for the filling
-2 large eggs
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
-5 tbsp lemon juice (approximately 2 lemons)
-2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil, with a 2-inch overhang on each side. Spray foil with cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, salt, and confectioner's sugar. Stir in melted butter, mixing to form a dough. Press dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until pale golden (20 minutes).
3. While dough is baking, whisk eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Remove pan from oven and top with lemon mixture. Return to oven for 20 minutes, until just set.
4. Allow bars to cool before using foil handles to remove from pan.  Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and cut into squares to serve. **If not serving immediately, store in the refrigerator.