Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baking: Love/Hate {Part Two - Lemon Squares}

Regardless of my love/hate relationship with baking {I posted about it yesterday - read it here}, I sucked it up and baked not once, but twice, this past week {banana bread recipe coming soon}!

My dear friend Bekah, drove over from Cali to visit me for MLK weekend and we made lemon bars together. Bekah is quite the little baker, so something about being in her presence inspires me to want to bake too. She brought me some pretty, bright yellow lemons that were begging to be made into lemon bars. We used the Smitten Kitchen recipe and Bekah taught me a baker's secret. She introduced me to putting parchment paper on the bottom of the pan to prevent the bars from sticking. Did y'all know about this? Am I out of the loop on this because I am a part-time baker hater? Anyway, the parchment paper worked like a champ and I can now scratch scrubbing the bottom of dirty baking pans off my list of reasons I hate baking... am I slowly crossing over?

Basically, you should know that this recipe makes a 9x12 pan of lemon squares and I ate about 3/4 of them myself. That is all.

Lemon Squares {from Smitten Kitchen}

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

For the 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

How you do it:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet {OR grease the pan and then add parchment paper on top so it sticks to the grease and stays in place}.

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. Pull/roll the dough into a giant ball in the mixing bowl and then put the ball in your greased pan. 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 for 5-20 minutes.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool in pan.

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 28-32 minutes 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.




Erin said...

You are now BAKER JEN...even though you are still CRAFTER JEN to Heather and I (wink wink)! I am unable to stop my mouth from watering at these lemon bars....

Erin said...

mmm those look amazing! and i love the picture of the lemons...gorgeous yellow! :)

Jaclyn said...

Ohhh man, I want to try that lemon square recipe. I feel like an old lady, but it's one of my favorite desserts!

Kassi at Truly Lovely said...

Both of these sound delicious! I have a confession... My banana bread is just a mix of banana nut muffins made in a bread pan! ;) There's even a recipe change or two on the back of the box... heehee.

Meg {henninglove} said...

i love love lemon squares!! your recipe looks great. my stomach is rumbling now does that mean it is time for my afternoon snack or i love craving a lemon square thanks to the photo

brittneyneva said...

I'm not a lemon gal, but banana bread is just about the only thing I will bake, and I actually enjoy it! I made a pretty good double loaf last fall. I kept one loaf at home (which I ate for my on-the-go breakfast for about a week and a half), and brought one loaf to the staff room. It was gone in a day! That's good news, right?

Anyway - do you know the trick to put brown bananas in the freezer? Then you pull 'em out and let them thaw when you're ready to make banana bread. I have no idea if this is common knowledge or something weird only my mom knows. FYI...

ThisLittleMomma said...

Yum! Lemon bars are one of my favorites! I love the Smitten Kitchen, I get a lot of my recipes from there!