Monday, August 22, 2011

Lovely Lemon Squares



I have a big confession. I've had a HUGE crush on lemon for quite awhile now. What's not to love?!? I always have at least 2 fresh lemons in my fridge and I guarantee that you will NEVER EVER see a bottle of that {gasp!} bottled 'lemon juice' in my fridge!! That stuff doesn't taste like the real thing in the slightest. I can't be the only person who thinks that, right?!!

All I know is that I love the smell of fresh lemon zest/juice whether it's in a salad dressing, cookies, cakes or swimming in some iced tea. Lemons are so fresh and get a pretty bad rap for being sour when they really spruce up dishes. Plus, who has the will power to walk by a lemon meringue pie without wanting a piece (or two)?!?!

A couple weeks ago I saw a big bag of lemons on sale (I am nothing if not a frugal shopper!) and I knew that they must be mine! When I got home with my 8 lemons I plopped them in my Tupperware produce container. I LOVE these containers because of the simple fact that they keep produce alive longer in my fridge (which is no mean feat!). Even with my miracle containers I needed to find a dish to use my lemons asap. So, I went online in the search for a truly stellar lemon square.

To me, the perfect lemon square will balance the sourness and tang of the lemon with the sweetness of the base and the powdered sugar on top. Our family of five are all avid (or is that rabid?) lemon meringue pie lovers so I knew that I had some pretty picky and knowledgeable customers to please when it came to a lemon dessert. These squares definitely make the cut! Not only were they super easy but they were delicious! A square of these babies with a dollop of vanilla ice cream would be heaven!

I found this recipe on Allrecipes.com but it barely resembles the original recipe. That's because I didn't follow the original recipe!! Oh no! I am a maverick in the kitchen. Spirited with a spatula! A rebel with a rolling pin!! You get the idea. Instead of following the recipe I made the changes (as well as a couple of tweaks of my own) that was suggested by a woman named Paige who reviewed the recipe. Ok, so what I did wasn't very revolutionary but you'll forgive me when you taste these squares (which are very addicting!!). Give these squares a try. They're the perfect end to a summer meal.

Lovely Lemon Squares
Yield: 24 squares

Base
3/4 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 315F (not 350F, three fifteen!!). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan and set aside.

Combine all of the base ingredients and combine well with a pastry blender. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and gently pat down. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until base is slightly golden brown. Increase oven temperature to 350F.

Lemon Layer
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup lemon zest, loosely packed (I used the zest from 4 lemons)
3/4 cup - 1 cup fresh lemon juice (I used the juice from 4 lemons which equalled 3/4 cup)
Garnish - icing sugar

In a large bowl, beat eggs. Add white sugar, baking powder, flour, lemon zest and lemon juice; mix until just combined. Pour over baked crust. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar just before serving. Store remaining squares in a covered container on the counter.

Inspired by: Allrecipes.com (poster: Paige)

Note: If you don't finish all of these squares in one sitting, you'll have to reapply the sifted icing sugar before serving them again. The icing sugar 'disappears' not too long after applied.

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11 comments:

Kelly @ Eat Yourself Skinny said...

Yummy these look fantastic! What a great recipe! :)

Christina @ This Woman Cooks! said...

You've totally sold me on these squares!! I've got a huge crush on lemon too! It's great being a maverick in the kitchen, isn't it? :)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks ladies! There's just something so fresh about a lemon dessert.

And yes, Christina - being a maverick in the kitchen is pretty cool. ;)

Dzoli said...

I have couple of Meyer lemon trees in the garden and according to your meassure I love them both:) I use lemon in cakes but also to stuff chicken make alds and so much more;) Great slice;)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Dzoli,
I'm jealous that you own a lemon tree!! Yes, I also use them to stuff chickens. Lemons are so versatile! :)

Anna @ hiddenponies said...

Just found your blog through Twitter and am really enjoying it! I saw the name and couldn't resist visiting - I'm a fellow Canadian SAHM who loves baking and reading :) Looking forward to reading more!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Anna -- I'm so glad you found my blog! Always fun to meet a fellow Canadian who loves to bake and read!! :)

Donika said...

Tried these lemon bars today and the whole family loved them! Thanks:)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Donika, I'm so happy that your family loved these lemon bars!! You've made my day!! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello, your recipe says it yields 12-16 squares. Approximately what size are the bars when they yield 12? thanks. Looks yummy, want to try this week... :)

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Anon -- You got me. Either I admit to eating ridiculously HUGE lemon squares (possible but not probable) or ... I totally and utterly forgot that I doubled the original recipe. ;) Ya, it's the second option. Sorry for the confusion.

Thanks for bringing this error to my attention. I've fixed it on the recipe.

For a 9x13 inch pan I tend to get about 24 (3"x1.5") squares. But if you'd prefer bite-sized portions (I tend to make smaller squares if I'm putting together a tray of various squares) you'll get a lot more bang for you buck. Or, if you make a half batch (9x9 pan) you'd get about 12-16 bars.

I hope you like these. I made them again two weeks ago and they didn't last long.

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