Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lemon Squares, Lemon Bars or Lemon Shapes

Ice Cream and pickles? None for me, thanks! I was never one with mean cravings while I was pregnant with my chil'rens. I have always heard about these crazed twinges moms-to-be get, but I never fell victim to any myself. Thank goodness. While pregnant with my third child, however, my appetite changed. I craved something, something sweet and tart and something I had only tasted maybe once before. I had a hankerin' I could not deny and it would not go away. I wanted Lemon Squares (or some may call them Lemon Bars, but at my house they are never square nor are they ever bars for that matter because I make them in an oval pan).

If you have read my blog before you know I avoid making desserts because I am prone to eating the entire pan all by myself. This must rum in my family (I mean run in my family) because I know of one sister (no names) that baked and ate an entire Eclair Cake while her husband was at work. She washed all the pots, pans and dishes so no evidence would be left behind. Smart gal because I have another sister that didn't cover her evidence as well. She ate almost all of a Grand Marnier Cake and left one tiny slither to be found by her kids. When her meek elementary-aged son came home from school and asked to have the last piece of cake she just about bit his head off for selfishly considering eating the last piece of cake. The nerve of him!

So you see, I get it honestly. I won't tell you what happened to all the Lemon Squares I made. You're smart, you figure it out.

Lemon Squares
(a.k.a. Lemon Bars or at my house "Lemon Shapes" because who really needs to be tied down to a specific shape)

When I make this recipe I half it, so in the photos of the final product you only see half of what the following recipe will produce.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (optional)
1. Combine the flours and confectioners' sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter to make a crumbly mixture.

2. Press the mixture into a greased 9x13 pan. It won't be pretty; it never is! Keep in mind that this crust will be covered with the lemon mixture, so beauty is as stomach tastes. I just made that up. Dang. Dip your fingers into a little flour to keep from sticking to the dough. Bake crust at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Watch the edges.
3. While crust bakes, mix the eggs, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest. Pour over baked crust and bake for about 25 minutes longer. Watch the edges.

4. Let cool and cut into any shape your heart desires. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

5. Eat. Eat some more. Wash the pans and remove all evidence of a dessert being prepared. When your kids get home from school, hide the Lemon Squares and eat them in the laundry room alone while you complain about your miserable laundry-folding existence (the complaining keeps them at bay and they are less likely to catch you). Remember to wipe your mouth before exiting because kids get suspicious when they see the confectioners' sugar on your upper lip. But I would not know any of this from experience or anything.
These are the ingredients I used. You could skip the whole wheat flour and just use the all-purpose, but I am a healthy junk food-eater and I make desserts with fruit (lemon) and whole grain wheats.
The crust hardly looks crusty. It's actually a real mess so don't think you are doing it incorrectly because it won't stick together.
Just do your best. That's what my mom always told me about school when I was a kid. I am pretty sure I didn't actually do my best and I turned out o.k.. Your crust will too.
Rub your lemon to get the juices flowing before you squeeze it. My mother-in-law showed me a trick. She puts her lemons in the microwave for a few seconds to get their juices juicier. It's fruit foreplay.

Above is the filling before I poured it into the baked crust. It's runny now, but it thickens up in the oven.Tah-dah! Presenting Lemon Shapes. The unrecognizable shapes are in the rear and on the bottom; it's a photography trick. I read about it in the fancy photography guide.

The irony is that all the Lemon Shapes are now on my rear and on my bottom! I guess the tricks on me!

I love these things! They are so darn good.

I wish I could stop at three. Or five.


Lesley said...

Kristy...I eat while hiding in the laundry room, too! No one ever knows!

ashley said...

I try to sneak bites all day long. Sometimes I get caught and Kendall looks at me accusingly and asks what I'm eating. Usually I say, "a cheerio, would you like one?"