Wednesday 30 April 2014

Lemon Bars

I made these tangy lemon bars recently for a light dessert ... fresh, sweet and tart at the same time, very lemony!  Most recipes call for the juice of 2 lemons or something like that.  The amount of juice you get out of lemons can vary considerably so I prefer to use a more specific measure.  By leaving the amount of sugar the same, you can increase the tartness of the bars by increasing the lemon juice from a minimum of 2/3 cup up to 3/4 cup.

Once I had committed to making these, I realized I did not have enough white sugar.  I actually used some turbinado sugar in the base although I had traditionally used white (so that is what I show in the recipe below). 

As for the lemon layer, I found a jar of vanilla sugar I had made after using up a vanilla bean for another recipe - just pop the used up vanilla pod into a jar of sugar and you'll have a beautifully scented sugar for your coffee.  Or it will boost up the flavour when used in baking.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups white sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp flour (just over 1/4 cup)
2/3 - 3/4 cup lemon juice (approx. 3)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the base, combine the first 3 ingredients together then press into the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes until base is golden and very slightly pulling away at the edges.

The final four ingredients get mixed together for the filling.  Pour over the mostly cooked crust and bake another 20 minutes.  The filling will thicken as it cools.

And some of it will have soaked into the crust to form a thin gooey middle layer.

Chill at least one hour before cutting into the bars.

For any experienced bakers out there ... any idea why the bubbles formed on top?  I haven't had that happen before.  Maybe I just needed to tap the pan a bit to let it settle before popping into the oven?  Oh well, it certainly doesn't affect the flavour.

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