Friday, May 30, 2014

SWEET SUMMERTIME LEMON BARS


It may not technically be summer yet, but it certainly feels like it! And thank goodness. I've been awaiting warm temperatures since last October! However, this year I'm a little depressed because it's my first summer without a "summer break." Apparently they don't let you take 12-week summer vacations in the working world. Who knew?! 

So when I was looking through old recipes recently and saw this one, I just knew it would be the perfect cure for my depression. Nothing says summertime quite like bright colors and citrus fruits.

I'm generally not the biggest fan of lemon-flavored treats, but just thinking about these bars makes me salivate. There's something so wonderful about the contrast between the buttery shortbread crust and the tart filling. And of course they're topped with a generous layer of powdered sugar for the perfect sweetness.

This recipe comes from my mother's long-time friend Jane. My mom keeps the recipe in a hand-written recipe book, so you know it's a classic!


SWEET SUMMERTIME LEMON BARS

INGREDIENTS
For The Crust
·       2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
·       2 cups all-purpose flour
·       1/2 heaping cup confectioners’ sugar

For the Filling
·       4 large eggs
·       2 cups granulated sugar
·       1/2 cup lemon juice
·       1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
·       2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.     Spray a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray; set aside.

For the Crust
1.     In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients and mash the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork until a sandy, crumbly mixture forms.
2.     Transfer mixture to prepared pan and use the back of a spoon to press crumbs down and form a flat layer of crust.
3.     Prick crust with a fork haphazardly in a dozen places so air and steam can escape while it bakes.
4.     Bake crust for 16 minutes. It should not be golden at all; it should still be white.
5.     Let crust cool for 20 minutes.

For the Filling
1.     In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
2.     Add the flour and whisk until lumps are gone.
3.     Pour mixture over crust and bake for 22-25 minutes or until the top has set and isn't jiggly and runny in the center.
4.     Allow bars to cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
5.     Cover pan and refrigerate for at least three hours before slicing.
6.     Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
7.     Store extra bars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

This is what your shortbread crust mixture will look like. Nice and crumbly.

Spray pan with non-stick spray and press crumbs down with the bottom of a spoon.

The lemon filling

After bars have cooled off, sprinkle make it rain powdered sugar. Lots of powdered sugar.

I think Kyle would eat anything with powdered sugar on top.

The finished product!

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