My Favorite Lemon Bars

My Favorite Lemon Bars

I grew up in a family which took their baked goods pretty seriously. Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing. At every family picnic (or “cook-out”, as we called them) there would be an array of pies, bars, and other confections, to follow up the standard burgers, salads, slow cooked baked beans, and so on. Lemon bars seemed to be one of the most treasured treats, yet one of those which seemed very difficult to get just right. I always loved one of my aunt’s lemon bars. Whenever they made an appearance at a picnic, I made sure to have one (or two, maybe more–my memory is foggy). They were like pure delicious sunshine, to me.

As an adult, when I started baking, naturally, I wanted to try my hand at the elusive lemon bars. I tried a few different recipes. I tested a few I found online and in magazines. I even used my aunt’s recipe. None of them brought about the kind of perfection I was seeking. Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist, but I think there are worse pursuits than creating the perfect lemon bar.

My Favorite Lemon Bars

Here are my criteria for the perfect lemon bar: The crust has to be thick enough to hold the filling and not crumble in your hand, while you hold it up to your mouth, yet soft enough to be tender when you bite into it. The filling should have a lovely balance between sweet and tart. The powdered sugar on top should be like fresh snow, gently dusted on, to allow you to just barely see the underlying bright, lemony surface.

After trying several recipes, I was lucky enough to be given a friend’s mom’s recipe, which turned out to be just what I had been searching for. I have made these lemon bars a number of times, and they are always incredibly delicious. I have simply added more detailed instructions to the recipe, based on my own way of doing things. Otherwise, the recipe is the same.

My Favorite Lemon Bars

I just made a batch for a play group party, and I knew I had to share the recipe with you. If you’re wary of recipes which claim to be the BEST EVER, let me tell you, I’m right there with you. If I see one of those, I will probably pass it by, simply because of its audacity. That is why I didn’t call this recipe the best. I called it my favorite. But, seriously, to me, it really is the best. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

 

My Favorite Lemon Bars

This is my very favorite recipe for lemon bars. Each bar is like a delicious ray of sunshine in your mouth. They are always a hit at backyard barbecues and parties.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 1 cup/ 2 sticks/ 225grams unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar/ soft icing mixture
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar/ soft icing mixture, for dusting on top

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F/ 180C degrees. Spray oil in a 9×13 inch Pyrex pan.

Make the crust: Using 2 forks or a pastry cutter, in a large bowl, blend butter, salt, 1/2 cup powdered sugar/ soft icing mixture, and 2 cups sifted flour, to make a soft dough. Press dough evenly into oiled Pyrex dish, using the back of a metal spoon to flatten. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crust is lightly golden.

Make the filling: In a large glass or ceramic mixing bowl, combine eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and 1/4 cup sifted flour and blend with a metal whisk until smooth. Pour over baked crust.

Reduce oven temp to 325F/ 160C degrees. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the center is firm and the edges are lightly golden.

Cool on wire rack, covered with a clean tea towel.

Dust with sifted powdered sugar/ soft icing mixture. Slice into bars when cooled completely.

Store in refrigerator. Consume within 3 days.

This recipe was created by Kim Sequoia for a delicious moment.

All written content and photos are copyright Kimberly Sequoia 2017 for a delicious moment.

If you would like to use this recipe on your own site, please re-write it in your own words and link back to my original post.

 

 

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I have been making this flourless chocolate cake for a several years, for special occasions and dinner parties, especially those which include guests who are gluten intolerant. This decadent cake is a chocolate lovers dream come true! (That’s me! Give me the chocolate.) It has a very rich, fudgy texture, which is absolutely to-die-for. Dark chocolate ensures that this cake is not overly sweet. It’s kind of like a giant fudgy brownie, but with a creamier crumb, if that makes sense.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Not only is this cake incredibly delicious and impressive, it is very easy to make. You simply mix everything in your food processor. What is truly amazing to behold, when preparing this cake, is the way the hot coffee melts the chocolate. It’s like magic! This cake could not be easier to make. The prep time is minimal. The baking time will depend on your oven a bit. Then, the cake must cool in the refrigerator for at least three hours. In fact, I think this cake is best after having been refrigerated overnight. Factor the refrigeration time in, when you plan to make this cake. I like to make this cake the day before I plan to serve it. Then I allow the cake to come up to room temperature before serving it, which usually takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on the room temp, of course.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This cake would be lovely served with a few fresh berries, a little cream, or maybe a peanut butter sauce. Of course, you can just serve it all by itself, because it is heavenly.

Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This decadent flourless chocolate cake is sure to please chocolate lovers. It’s very easy to make, using a food processor to mix everything, and it's gluten-free. This is an impressive cake for a special occasion.

This recipe was adapted from Gluten-Free Goddess.

Ingredients

  • 500g/ 16 oz. 70% dark chocolate (Use your favourite dark chocolate bars. I prefer Lindt or Cadbury Old Gold. DO NOT use compound chocolate! It will clump up into a ball in the food processor.)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup very hot strong coffee (or use an espresso shot mixed into boiling water)
  • 225g/ 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 8 large free-range eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 170ºC fan-forced/ 350ºF. Prepare a 10-cup springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment/ baking paper and spraying with oil.
  2. To prevent the edges of the cake from browning too much while the center is still wet, wrap the outside of the whole pan with a big piece of foil, with an inch or so overhanging around the top edge. Note: Using a smaller cake pan will result in a longer baking time. Adjust baking time accordingly and keep an eye on the edges. Place the springform pan onto a slightly larger baking tray or pizza pan, to prevent batter from dripping down into the oven.
  3. Break up the dark chocolate into pieces and place the chocolate into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until the chocolate breaks up into small bits. Add the sugar. Pulse until the chocolate and sugar turns into an even, sandy grain.
  4. Pour the hot coffee slowly into the feed tube while running the processor on low speed. Process until the chocolate is completely melted.
  5. Add the butter pieces and the cocoa powder, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla, and process until smooth. The batter will be a creamy liquid.
  6. Pour the batter into the lined springform pan. Bake at 180C/ 170 º C fan-forced/ 350º F in the centre of the oven, until it is puffed and cracked on top. (Bake about 55 to 65 minutes. Note – it may take an hour plus 15 minutes to bake this cake at high altitude.) Use a wooden toothpick to check the center of the cake; pick should emerge clean, with maybe a crumb.
  7. Place the cake pan on a wire rack to cool, covered loosely with a clean tea towel. The cake will deflate. This might not be a pretty cake, but it is insanely delicious. So, don’t worry too much about the crackly top.
  8. When the cake is completely cooled, remove from the pan, cover, and chill it for at least three hours (up to eight hours), until serving. Overnight is best.
  9. Before serving, let the cake sit out at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes (or 5 minutes, on a hot day). Sprinkle a little sifted powdered sugar/ soft icing mixture over the top of the cake, to make it look pretty, if you prefer.
  10. Slice cake into thin slices, because this cake is very rich. Serve with fresh berries and/ or a bit of double cream, if you like. A peanut butter sauce would probably be fabulous, as well. Keep cake refrigerated, and consume within 3 days.

This recipe was created by Kim Sequoia for a delicious moment.

All written content and photos are copyright Kimberly Sequoia 2017 for a delicious moment.

If you would like to use this recipe on your own site, please re-write it in your own words and link back to my original post.