Luscious & Lemony

Tuesday, the rain returned to Portland. Actually, I really enjoyed the return of the rain. I've been soaking in the early signs of spring, dreaming about flowers and dresses and fresh asparagus. But, truth is, I'm not quite ready to let go of winter. I like the rain and the soft grey sky. I like layering on sweaters and scarves and heading out to feel the cool air on my face. I like staying inside and enjoying a nice cuppa while knitting on the couch. Winter is good. It comforts.

Of course, sometimes I need a little brightness. When that's the case, there's nothing like lemon bars to perk things up, especially made with meyer lemons. I have a lemon bar recipe that I've been using for several years and it never fails to please. I clipped it from a magazine that Target was publishing for a while. Yeah, I was surprised, too. These bars are lighter in texture than a lot of others I've tried, and they aren't overly sweet. Here's the recipe:

Lemon Bars
Makes 32

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. butter (not margarine)
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 lg. egg white

3/4 c. granulated sugar
Grated zest of one lemon
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 lg. egg
1 lg. egg white
2 tbs all-purpose flour
Confectioner's sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan; set aside. Make the crust: In a small bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Melt butter over med-high heat, swirling in pan until it turns a nutty brown, about 1 minute. Pour browned butter into a mixing bowl. Add canola oil & egg white; beat until well combined. Stir in the dry ingredients until blended. Dough will be crumbly. Press dough evenly into the bottom of the bakign pan. Bake 15-20 min, ur until crust is slightly puffed and begins to brown around the edges.
3. Meanwhile, make the filling: Whisk together granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, egg white and flour. Pour filling over the hot crust. Return to oven and bake 15-20 minutes, or until set. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before cutting into 2-inch-by-1-inch bars and dusting with confectioner's sugar.

Save the extra egg yolks and make a batch of lemon curd. My current favorite recipe comes from the River Cottage Family Cookbook. It's great on toast, pancakes, scones... I highly encourage you to make a batch to help bridge the gap between the last days of winter and the first days of spring!


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