Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lemon Bars

These are Kathleen’s new favorite bars. As we were being spoiled in Chelan at Grandpa Terry and Grandma Doogie’s house with way too much good food, Kathleen kept eyeing these bars…and slowly (and slightly mysteriously) they disappeared throughout the course of a day! These are like a buttery-rich short bread made refreshing with the lemony citrus topping. I think the key to this recipe is the powdered sugar in the crust. It seems almost creamy.

Now, Kathleen has been on a mission to make these bars since we've been home! We’ve got the recipe…and we’re sharing the wealth! Here it is

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

With two knives, have one of your children cut in the following crust ingredients:

1 cup flour
1 stick softened butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
If you're using salt-free butter, also add 1/8 tsp. salt

Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it's the size of small peas.

You can also put the ingredients in your processor and just give it a twirl. Or, if you'd like throw pastry caution to the wind, then just beat it up a bit with your electric mixer. I won't tell anybody. I just don't have my kids use these power tools on their own yet.

Dump the crust mixture into an 8" x 8" baking dish.Don't forget to clean up your mess!
Pat down the crust mixture firmly and evenly. (Kathleen had to get up on the counter top to make sure it was even.)
Pop the crust into the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, let your kiddo make a mess of her face while eating all the crust bits off her hand. Letting her do this helped pass the time that the crust was baking. Kids don't like to wait very long!

Now, mix the lemony filling by beating the eggs, then adding the sugar,
(Never mind that Kathleen added the sugar before the eggs then had to pour it back out.) Carry on...add lemon juice (heck, throw in a tablespoon of the rind if you're using fresh lemons), and a pinch of salt.

Fold in the flour and baking powder, then pour the filling into the baking dish over the shortbread crust.

Bake for 18 minutes until the "middle doesn't jiggle" and the top is slightly browned.Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. (Again, this is where kids don't like to wait. So, please begin your lessons on the virtue of patience, read an Aesop's Fable about the downfalls of instant gratification (there's gotta be one), or let them pre-run off their lemon bar calories by sending them outside to play.

To serve: Cut into squares or triangles (unless cutting things into triangles means the kiss of death like it does in Joe's family. They never cut their sandwiches into triangles. I figured, with the engineers and mathematicians in their family they would have cut their sandwiches, bars and cakes into every conceivable geometric shape...but NO. Remember, it was the kiss of death. Their own words, not mine.) Personally, I like triangles. Am I getting off the subject?

After you ponder your perceived kisses of death, generously sprinkle confectioner's sugar all over the top, then serve. Pure loveliness!

Tip: Depending on how many bars you want to make, either make this single recipe or double the ingredients and use a 9" x 13" baking dish.

Okay, okay, I've fooled you all. This hasn't been Doogie's recipe. Below is the recipe she gave us. I just had to write down everything else so I'd remember how to make them. I need support that way. Otherwise, I often doubt myself.

The actual words on Doogie's recipe card:

1 cup flour
½ cup butter
¼ cup powdered sugar
Press into bottom at 8” x 8” pan and bake 15-20 minutes.

2 well-beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
3 TBSP lemon juice (Using the bottled stuff is just fine. Doogie gave me permission to say that.)
Dash salt

Fold in 2 TBSP flour and ½ tsp. baking powder. Pour this mixture over crust and bake 15-20 minutes. Cool slowly.


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