Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lemon Squares

I love lemon squares. Or lemon bars, whatever you wish to call them. I remember being little and asking for them instead of a birthday cake. (I usually don't ask for birthday cakes on my birthday. They aren't my favorite.) I have some special requirements, though. My lemon squares need to have REAL lemon. They need to be more tart than sweet. And, they need to be creamy.

This recipe is all of those things!

Ingredients: 1 3/4 C. plus 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour; 3/4 C. confectioner's sugar, plus more for sprinkling; 1/2 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. kosher salt; 14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces; 4 large eggs; 1 1/4 C. granulated sugar; 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest; 2/3 C. fresh lemon juice (about 4 lemons). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Measure out your flour
and the confectioner's sugar
and 1/2 tsp. of salt
and dump them into your tiny food processor. Yep, mine's a little one. After I dumped it all in, I wondered how I was going to also fit in 14 Tbsp. of butter. Perhaps I should ask for a bigger food processor for my birthday. It's next month, you know. I'll be asking for a pumpkin pie instead of a birthday cake.
Okay, so I ended up putting in half of the dry mixture and half of the butter and blending that and then taking the other half of the dry mixture and the other half of the butter and mixing that.
It worked.
Then knead all of the dough together in a bowl.
Take the dough and put it in a 9x13 baking dish.
Press the dough as evenly as possible all over the dish, making sure that the dough goes about 1/2 an inch up the sides of the dish.
Like so. Now, put this in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, bake it in the oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. (I did a poor job of making my dough even, can you tell?)
Now, while the crust is baking, take those lovely 4 eggs and put them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the granulated sugar to the eggs.
Take 2 lemons and zest them into the bowls. What? That's not a zester? It's a cheese grater! Oh. Well, I don't have a zester, so I have to improvise. Yet another birthday gift idea....a zester...
Zested lemon peel. Yum...
Take your lemons and cut them in half. Apologize in advance, because we're going to be squeezing the juice out of them. Literally.
Two whole lemons only equals 1/3 a cup of juice. We need 2/3 a cup, so I had to recruit two more lemons from my refrigerator. Sorry guys.
(Side note: Please, for the love of all that's holy, please please please don't accidentally dump in the lemon juice without extracting the seeds. Then you will have to dig around in the mixing bowl and try to extract the stupid seeds, all the while trying not to curse in front of your two year old who is totally starting to mimic everything you say and you really don't want her saying curse words in front of your mom. So, please, remember to strain the juice and get those goshdarn seeds out. Thank you.)

Add the 3 Tbsp. of flour
and the 1/8 tsp. of salt
and whisk, whisk, whisk!
Oh, look! The crust is golden brown! Excellent.
Pour that lovely lemony mixture right on top of the hot crust. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees and then pop the whole thing back in for another 15 minutes or until the filling is set. It has eggs, so you'll need it cook through. If you take the lemon bars out and their still gooey and jiggly when you shake the dish, pop them back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.
Ah. Perfection, thy name is lemon squares.
Take the lemon bars and put them on a cooling rack to allow them to cool. Hence the name of the rack. Once they've cooled, sprinkle with as much confectioner's sugar as your heart desires.
Then eat them and ooh and ahh and proclaim them the best dessert that has ever been!
Also, share them. Because eating 24 lemon squares by yourself is not a great idea if you want to still be able to fit into your pants the next day. Enjoy!!

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