When life hands you lemons, forget the lemonade. Make Lemon Bars.
Actually, lemon bars are more than just a Texas fave, they're a quintessential southern tradition.
One problem I have with these tasty treats, though, is that sometimes they're too sweet. I prefer mine with a little more tang. And this recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and citrus.
Best of all, they're really quite easy to make. For years, I opted for a box kit but, really, this scratch-made version doesn't take much longer.
**FYI - refrigeration time is required, so plan accordingly**
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.
For the crust you will need:
2 sticks of cold butter (I prefer unsalted)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix dry ingredients together, then cube butter before adding.
Cut butter into the flour, sugar, salt until crumbly, yet incorporated.
Then dump into foil-lined pan.
And press to cover bottom of pan.
Bake 20 minutes or until golden.
While that's baking, let's make the filling.
For the filling, you will need:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Zest and juice of 5 lemons
Okay, so this is where homemade versus a box-kit might cost you a little more time, because you have to zest and juice the lemons.
First, you want to wash them. Yes, that means soap. Just be sure to rinse them well before drying.
I have three larger lemons and two smaller. What can I say, one store had big ones, the other small and I failed to purchase them at the same time.
Now I'd like to introduce you one of my new favorite kitchen gadgets.
This is called a microplane. You can use it for finely grating lots of things, like citrus peels, whole nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. I used to just use the fine grate on my standard cheese grater, but I was over the moon when I found this in my Christmas stocking. I can't tell you how much easier it makes things. And no more bloodied knuckles or chipped fingernails.
Simply drag the grate across the peel and it traps everything in this little channel. Then you simply tap what's there into the bowl.
Once all you're lemons are zested...
Simply cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice, taking care to strain out any seeds. A task I usually just use my hands/fingers for.
Now, whisk together your flour, sugar and eggs until smooth.
Then add the lemon zest and juice...
And stir to incorporate.
Once your crust is done...
Pour the lemon mixture over the top.
Put it back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, or until just set.
Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
When ready to serve, lift foil from pan and dust with powdered sugar.
Cut into squares and serve.
So pretty. SO tasty.
And that citrusy tang is perfect for summertime or a nice compliment after any rich meal.
I made them for Mother's Day. Of course, I made them the day before, because I wasn't allowed to do any cooking this Mother's Day. Which also happened to be my youngest daughter's birthday.
The kids came over and hubby ordered in fajitas and all the trimmings from our favorite Mexican restaurant.
Gotta love that.
And my middle daughter made her sister's birthday cake.
Isn't it beautiful? And just wait til you hear about the inside.
Chocolate and white layers with a cherry filling and white chocolate ganache frosting.
In a word?
Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and kids. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com.