Monday, March 25, 2013

Lemon Bars and Easter Egg Painting...

Lemon Bars with Crumb Topping

Another spring snowstorm...  will it ever end?  The snow began falling Friday evening and lasted all day Saturday, and even when the sun made an appearance Sunday morning, it was still only 9 degrees outside.  I put on shoes and a coat long enough to move my car from the puddle of melting snow I was parked on so that I wouldn't be stuck the next morning after the puddle froze again, and then hurried back up to the warmth of our condo.

Easter Egg Painting with Gel Food Colors

Lemon Bars with Crumb Topping, and Easter Egg Painting with Gel Food Colors

Easter Egg Painting with Gel Food Colors

With several deadlines for cake projects this weekend, I spent hours in the warm kitchen, baking and decorating while the snow swirled and drifted outside.  With both cakes finished by Saturday afternoon, I was able to relax a little and baked blueberry crumble for Jamie - he had his heart set on apple pie all weekend, but as I only had frozen blueberries on hand and didn't really want to go to the store for apples in a snowstorm, I promised him a fresh apple pie next weekend.

The hot, juicy blueberries with a crumbly oat topping was a wonderful snowy day treat.  Then we slowly simmered ham hocks all afternoon for a pot of bean and ham soup, with olive bread and creamy roasted garlic for a warm and cozy dinner.

Easter Egg Painting with Gel Food Colors

Lemon Bars with Crumb Topping

We slept in on Sunday, and after a late breakfast of crispy waffles with strawberries, homemade chocolate syrup and freshly whipped cream, I was able to spend some time on a few of my own projects.

I mixed up some shortbread dough for lemon bars for Jamie to take to work, and instead of sprinkling the top of the lemon bars with powdered sugar or a glaze, I just used some of the dough as a crumb topping.  The lemon bars were sweet and buttery, and most importantly tart, and it was hard to just have a little taste.

And then for a little Easter egg decorating, I contemplated dyeing them - maybe trying some tea-dyeing for more subtle colors - but in the end just did some simple painting.  The "paint" I used is a mixture of gel food coloring thinned with a few drops of vodka, and I spent a happy couple of hours with myself painting tiny dots and spring flowers.  With pretty eggs like this, I can almost forget how cold it is outside...

Easter Egg Painting with Gel Food Colors

Lemon Bars with Crumb Topping
printable recipe

Crust and Topping:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter,cut into pieces
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 2-3 large lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350.  Spray a square 8x8 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In your food processor, combine the crust/topping ingredients until pea-sized pieces of butter remain.  Reserve one cup of the crumbs for the topping, and press the remainder of the crumbs firmly against the bottom of the baking dish.  (The crumb mixture will seem very dry, but it will bake into a shortbread cookie-like crust.)  Bake crust for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice for the filling.  Sift in the flour to avoid lumps and whisk to combine.

After the crust has baked for 15 minutes, remove from the oven.  Whisk the filling again and pour over the hot crust.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle the reserved one cup crumbs over the filling and bake for an additional 20 minutes until topping is a pale golden.

Let cool on the counter for at least two hours to set before slicing into squares.  These can be served slightly warm or chilled.

Yields 16 two-inch squares.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like a pretty wonderful, cozy weekend even with such crappy weather!! I'm feel more ready for Spring this year than I think I ever have been. Love love love those handpainted eggs- you have patience I sorely lack :)


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