Monday, June 27, 2011

Lemon Bars

At about 8:30 on Friday night I remembered that I had offered to bring a dessert to the cookout we were attending on Saturday.  Despite spending the afternoon going to three different grocery stores for my weekly shop, I at no point remembered to pick up the ingredients for nutella cheesecake brownies (a delicious sounding recipe sent to me by my friend Jackie).  I also know from experience that trying a new, complicated recipe late at night is often unsuccessful and results in missing ingredients.  Instead, I went with a tried and true old standby, Lemon Bars.  Straightforward to make, uses ingredients I generally keep on hand, and extremely popular, these fit the bill.

Lemon Bars
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment coated with cooking spray.  To line the pan with parchment, use two crossed pieces and allow the sides to stay long enough to use as handles to lift out the cooked bars.

To make the crust:
With a mixer, cream the butter and sugar.
Add the flour and salt and mix just until the dough comes together.
Press into the bottom of the baking dish ( I find it easiest to use slightly wet hands), and bake for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

To make the filling:
Using a mixer, beat the sugar and eggs.  
Add the lemon juice and zest.  
Gently fold in the flour and stir to remove lumps.  
Pour the filling over the cooked shortbread crust and bake for 20 minutes, until filling is set. 

At this point you can cover the cooled lemon bars with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.  
When ready to serve, use the paper handles to lift out the bars and cut.  If your knife starts to stick or pull the bars, give it a rinse between slices.  Dust with powdered sugar.  
I'm glad I ate a little broken corner before I packed these up, because they went quickly.  They'll be a hit, I promise.


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