Wednesday, December 21

Christmas Madness: Lemon Bars

Today is the day I officially started baking all my Christmas treats! I eased my way in with a classic Lemon Bar, a quick and easy bake. Also a  great palate cleanser that contains some fruit!... Yep, I may be rationalizing to make myself feel better about all the sugar in these bad boys. Change of subject. 

Have you ever noticed if you have lemon trees by your house, on your way to work/school, or behind a reachable fence? Well, my Dad does and of course a bit of hoarding comes with it. They're like prized gems that need to be taken right now or you may never be able to find them again! For a few days, decent piles of lemons keep appearing on the counter until one evening he said "What are we gonna do with all these lemons? We probably have enough for lemon bars." Yeah Dad, we have more than enough. So Voila, Lemons Bars it is! I know everyone has a certain recipe they use, but it's okay, I'll share mine anyway. It sure is reliable!

You might be wondering, "what is going on with those lemon bars? They look funky!" Well, lately I've been baking some things that are supposed to be dusted (heavily of course) with powdered sugar. And every time I share with my boyfriend, he inhales the sugar and it makes for a very awkward moment when he clears his throat and gives me the look. So today, he gave a wonderful suggestion of blow torching/caramelizing the powdered sugar! It totally works, tastes good and insures no accidents. If ya got one, try it... but beware, it can burn easily.
 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbl cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbl all-purpose flour
1 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup milk or half-and-half
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350' F. Butter a 13x9 inch baking pan. In a medium size bowl combine 2 cups flour, the 1/2 cup powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt. Cut in until course crumbs. Press mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are golden.

Meanwhile, for the filling, in a medium size bowl combine eggs, lemon juice and zest, sugar, 3 Tbl flour and milk/half-and-half. Pour filling over hot crust. Bake 15-20 minutes or until center is set.  Cool completely in pan. Dust with powdered sugar and caramelize with a blow torch. Cut into bars and serve!

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