Zest

March 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

Happy Monday, readers!

Your fearless blogger is stuck for another day on vacation in sunny southwest Florida (I know, woe is me) due to inclement weather while trying to get home. I can’t complain… I look outside my window and see sunshine, palm trees and the swimming pool beckons, while at home there’s snow, sleet and slush.

Much of the country is getting slammed with a late March snowstorm, so I thought I’d try to bring a bit ‘o sunshine to you. I made this recipe at Christmas and were they ever a hit! There wasn’t one left on a plate and I was asked for the recipe more than once that evening.

Smitten Kitchen’s lemon bars are the tastiest thing to ever grace this Earth. I’m serious. Snow got you down? Cold snap killing your crocuses? Make these bars and I PROMISE you’ll feel like spring wafted through your kitchen (and tummy).

This recipe ran on her blog back in 2008, but these bars continue to delight taste buds on a constant basis.

lemon bars

lemon bars

all images this post © Smitten Kitchen

Lemon Bars
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

These are bold and tart lemon bars, ones I feel are best in smaller doses than Ina Garten suggests. I’ve made a few changes to the recipe–increased the salt in the crust, reduced the sugar in the lemon filling and an encouragement to grease your pan, as mine were all but cemented into their non-stick pan. For those of you who like the 1:1 crust to lemon layer ratio, use the second option.

scrubbedlemon zest

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the full-size lemon layer:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

[Or] for a thinner lemon layer:

4 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (3 to 4 lemons)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

lemon macroemptied lemon halves

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

lemon bars

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (less if you are using the thinner topping), or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

———

Say it with me now, readers… “What snow? YUM.”

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