Archive for ‘Bars’

April 28, 2015

Lemon Bars

by tina

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Ever since last Christmas, I’ve become obsessed with lemon bars. My roommate had made them for a family gathering and I had the opportunity to try some. I’ve never really liked lemon bars until I had these. They were tart, not too sweet, and absolutely delicious. She had followed this recipe (minus the walnuts). I followed the same recipe to make my own batch with high expectations, but to my disappointment they didn’t turn out the same–The crust was thicker, the filling was thicker and more gooey, and the lemon flavor wasn’t as tart. Apparently, my roommate had tweaked the recipe but had forgotten what was tweaked exactly. So for the next several weeks we experimented by adjusting the servings of the recipe and then increasing the amount of lemon juice, adding lemon zest, and added more flour for the filling. Between the two of us, we probably made about 7 batches until we figured it out. Thanks to the help of my roommate, here is the final tweaked recipe!

Ingredients:

Crust portion

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/8 cup powdered sugar (3/8 = 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Filling portion

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 5-6 small lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 3-4 small lemons)
  • 1/4 cup flour (sifted)

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Directions:

Part 1: Crust portion

Preheat the oven to 325F

Melt the butter a little in the microwave for 15 secs. Then add in the powdered sugar and flour.

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Mix with a hand mixer on low speed until you see clumps form. Mix for about 2 mins longer, or until thoroughly incorporated. Then take the clumps and pack them together with your hands.

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Place the crust dough in a 9×13 pan. Spread the dough out evenly with your hands, packing it down in the process.

Bake for 18 mins, or until edges are very light brown.

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Part II: Filling portion

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. Squeeze the lemons to make the 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Zest the lemons to loosely measure 1 tablespoon.

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Place the egg and sugar in a large bowl and mix with a whisk.

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Strain the lemon juice to get rid of any seeds and pulp. (I like it more tart, so I add the pulp back in). Add in the lemon zest and mix.

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At this time, your crust should be just about done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for about 5-7 mins.

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While the crust is cooling, sift and add the flour in small amount while stirring into the filling mixture. Make sure there are no clumps of flour floating in the mixture.

After the crust has cooled for a little bit, add the filling onto the crust. Pop any air bubbles on the surface. Bake for 23 mins.

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The edges should be brown when you pull it out of the oven.

Let it cool for about 1 hour before cutting into it.

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A closeup of the filling and crust.

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Cut them into squares, and Enjoy these delicious bars!!

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December 11, 2014

Raspberry Crumble Bars – The less sweet, less buttery version

by tina

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About a year ago, one of my coworkers had made and shared these crumble bars with us.  I loved it so much that I asked her to share her recipe and she told me she had simply followed this barefoot contessa recipe and added a little more sliced almonds.  Super simple, she emphasized.  Since then, I’ve made them a couple of times and eventually tweaked it to my liking: the less sweet and less buttery version.  (I reduced the sugar to 78% and butter to 88% of what the original recipe called for, so if you feel that either of them is not enough for your liking, you could always add a little more of each).

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (Kerrygold pure irish butter)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (Trader Joe’s alcohol free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounces raspberry jam (Cascadian Farm organic)
  • 2/3 cup granola with nuts (no fruit)
  • 1/3 cup sliced almond
  • confectioner’s sugar

(yields 24 bars)

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Directions:

Place the butter and sugar in the electric mixing bowl.  Use the paddle attachment and mix on medium speed just until combined.  Then add the vanilla extract and mix on low speed until combined.

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In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and salt together.  Slowly add this to the electric mixing bowl with the mixer on low.  When they are combined, take it out of the mixer and use your hands to press the crumbly dough into a ball.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Turn the dough out on a board.

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Lightly pat 2/3 of the dough evenly on the bottom of a 9 inch by 13 inch glass oblong baking dish and about 1/4 inch up the sides.

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Spread with the jam, leaving a 1/4 inch border.

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Mix the granola into the remaining dough with your hands.

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Break the dough into small bits, and distribute it on top of the jam, covering most of the surface. (I didn’t end up using all of this since I didn’t want it to be too thick). Sprinkle the almonds on top.

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Bake the bars for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.

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After it cools completely, sprinkle lightly with confectioners’ sugar.  Cut into 24 bars and place them in cupcake liners.  Since it’s the holidays, you could also place them in some festive liners :)

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