Lemon Bars

Can you believe it’s the end of a week of bars. It makes me sad, but I have no doubt there will be more bars posted here in the future…

Spring has been teasing us here in Boston the past couple of weeks. It’s been warm, then rainy, then cool, then rainy, then warm again and so on. I really can’t wait for the cold weather to be behind us until next winter (although I have to admit, we had a pretty mild winter this year). These bars sure did brighten the day! Lemon is such a classic spring flavor. It just makes you forget about all the cold rainy nastiness that’s going on outside.


I won a new cookbook in a giveaway from Brandy at Nutmeg Nanny. Have you seen her blog? it’s one of my favs. I was instantly drawn to it because of the name. Nutmeg is BY FAR my favorite spice, freshly ground, of course! I don’t keep a whole nutmeg in my pocket, but it sure would be handy… Anyways, Brandy let me choose either the Cook’s Illustrated, Baking Illustarted Hardcover Cookbook or Cook’s Illustrated, The New Best Recipe: All New Edition Hardcover Cookbook. Obviously, I chose the baking cookbook. It came in the mail with a special surprise – a lime green spatula that I love!


I haven’t had enough time to really read through the cookbook yet, but I saw the picture for these lemon bars and knew I needed to add them to my Week of Bars. As I posted on my Facebook Fan page, I always forget how much I love lemon curd until I make it again. Man, I could eat a whole bowl of it with a spoon! This curd is perfectly sweet and tart without being overly tart.


I cut these bars pretty small so that they’d go further (the original recipe says to cut into 12 bars). I think it they were the perfect size (although Hubby did mention that one coworker may have eaten 5 of these, so I assume he thinks I cut them too small!). On a side note, I just realized as I was looking at the recipe tonight that I used the wrong sized pan. I used a 9×13 pan instead of a 9×9 pan. No wonder they said to cut int 12 bars and no wonder my bars looked so thin! Ha! Either way they’re delicious, but I’ll definitely be making these again with the correct sized pan. The recipe below shows the steps I took to make these bars (except for using the wrong sized pan).


One Year Ago: March Madness Crinkle Sugar Cookies

Check out my entire week of bars and brownies here.

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Lemon Bars

Yield: 12

Ingredients:

For the crust
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more to decorate the finished bars
1/2 tsp salt
8 Tbsp butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the lemon filling
7 egg yolks, plus 2 eggs
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2/3 cup from 4 or 5 medium lemons, plus 1/4 cup finely grated zest
4 Tbsp butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 Tbsp heavy cream
Confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions:

Make the crust
Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt in a mixer and mix on low until combined. Add the butter and mix until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Make the filling while the crust is baking.

Make the filling
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks and whole eggs until combined. Add the sugar and whisk until just combined. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt; whisk until combined. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan, add the butter pieces, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour the curd through a single-mesh stainless steel strainer set over a clean bowl. Stir in the heavy cream; pour the curd into the warm crust immediately.

Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 2 1/2 inch squares, wiping the knife clean between cuts as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over the bars, if desired.

Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated

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16 Responses to “Caramelized Apple Grilled Cheese”

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    Fun and Fearless in Beantown — October 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    This looks great! After apple picking last year, I was desperately searching for ways to use the apples in savory ways. Now one of my favorite recipes is a calzone filled with apples, proscuitto, brie and sage. SO good!

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    The Red Headed Mama — October 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    My husband used to laugh at me when I told him that as kids we would do apple pie filling and cheese in the hobo pie maker. It was fabulous…I’m going to show him this post to prove that I’m not crazy. We’re apple picking this weekend, so I’ll be sure to try this out!

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    Melissa — October 11, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I definitely need to think of some savory ways to use up all of the apples we pick every fall, and stop making sweets! This looks like a great recipe!

    http://www.madeinmelskitchen.com

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    Heavenly Housewife — October 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    What a great apple treat. I’ve got loads of apples this years from my trees and am looking for yummy recipes to use them up. After all, a girl can only eat so much apple sauce LOL.
    *kisses* HH

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    Cupcake Activist — October 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I didn’t realize this was going to be a sweet sandwich. It looks so yummy! I once had a grilled cheese sandwich with thinly sliced apples in the middle and it was delicious!

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    The Small Boston Kitchen — October 11, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I love what you did with your leftover apples! This looks incredible…love the apple and cheese combinations!

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    feerlessfood.com — October 12, 2010 at 2:07 am

    This recipe looks really tasty! I tried a similar flavor combo, but it was apple, cheddar omelete. I needed as apple with more flavor- the one I used wasn’t tart enough!

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    nutmegnanny — October 12, 2010 at 2:40 am

    What a great way to use up apples…yum!

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    Val — October 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    This made my mouth water. I have to make this soon.

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    Boston Food Diary — October 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Looks delicious Jen! I love the combination of apples and gouda! After my apple picking adventures I am definitely seeking lots of good apple ideas as well!

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    Rachel Cannon Humiston — October 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    This looks like a great comfort food sandwich! I spent yesterday baking apple pies and snacking on cheese and crackers. I snuck in a few apple slices on my cheddar & crackers – yum!

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    Evan B — October 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Um YES please! ps. everyone in the office loved your brownie recipe- it has totally become my go-to 🙂

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    Jen — October 12, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    I love making grilled cheese with a really great goat’s milk gouda–it’s our new favorite grilled cheese–but I think I’d die and go to heaven if I made it this way! thanks for sharing.

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    newlywed — October 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    This looks delicous! I love the combination of apples and cheese. It is great to see a savory apple recipe…I have lots too!

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    .dear.jenny. — November 25, 2010 at 1:48 am

    HUSH! oh my…looks amazing!!

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    Souffle Bombay (Colleen) — January 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I HAVE to try this!!!

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