Lemon Bars

In April (yeah, I’m “slightly” behind), coworker Chiemi brought in a bunch of giant lemons from her lemon tree and gave me a bunch to make lemon bars.  I’ve never made lemon bars before.  I don’t even think I’ve ever HAD a lemon bar, so I was kind of clueless as to an “ideal” recipe to use.

I searched through a bunch of recipes listed in a google search.  They can range from using 2 Tbsp of lemon juice, to a whole cup of lemon juice, or using only the juice of one lemon to one whole ground up lemon.  I guess it all depends on how lemony you want your bars.

After looking through some recipes and asking some coworkers on what they look for in a lemon bar, I decided to go with the whole cup of lemon juice route.  I settled on Ina Garten’s Lemon Bar recipe.

They were a HIT!! I’m sure the home-grown lemons contribute to the success, but people LOVED the shortbread in this lemon bar!!!
Definitely will make again! ❤

Lemon Bars (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients:
For the crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
For the fillings:
6 eggs, room temperature
2.5 cups white sugar
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp lemon zest

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light.
3. Add flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix on low until incorporated.
4. Press dough evenly into a 9×13 baking pan.
5. Bake the crust in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack, and keep oven on.
6. While crust is cooling, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and flour.
7. Run mixture through a sieve to make sure there are no lumps of flour.
8. Stir in the lemon zest into the lemon and eggs mixture.
9. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 30 minutes, until the filling is set.  Let cool to room temperature.
10. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Enjoy!

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Shortbread Bars

There was a charity bake sale at work last week, and since I LOVE to bake, but can’t find enough people to eat the food, I LOVE bake sales (and potlucks)!! I took advantage of this and one of the things that I made are these PB&J Shortbread Bars. I first saw this on Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, and I thought they were perfect for a bake sale and perfect for testing out the pre-cut parchment paper from The Smart Baker (see post here).

To do the product testing in one go, I doubled this recipe and made a square version and a round version.  The square version, I cut into 16 2×2 squares, and the round version, I cut into 12 wedges.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Shortbread Bars/Wedges (adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures)

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 Cups Flour
2/3 Cups Strawberry Preserves (or any other flavor preserves/jelly/jam)

Directions:
1. Line a 9-inch round springform pan with parchment paper (I used some Pre-Cut Parchment by The Smart Baker, it works like a charm!…;))
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and peanut butter.
3. Add sugar & salt and beat until light & fluffy.
4. Add vanilla extract and stir to combine.
5. Add flour and beat until incorporated.
6. Remove 1/3 of the dough, form into a disk, wrap it with plastic wrap, and freeze for one hour.
7. Press remaining dough into an even layer at the bottom of the springform pan, spread the preserves evenly in the center of the dough (leaving an edge like a pizza crust), refrigerate.

8. When you’ve reached one hour of freezing the initial disk, preheat oven to 350F, break frozen dough into pieces and sprinkle on top of the preserves.

9. Bake for 40 minutes (or so) until shortbread is golden brown.

10. Cool completely before cutting with a pizza wheel (or knife).
Enjoy!!!