belle's lemon bars
I am known as "that girl who bakes" at TD's work. I love baking, but I can't and shouldn't eat all that I bake. I would bring stuff into school, except that I have no cohort or department to speak of and my friends are scattered. Also, I don't want to be "that girl who bakes" at my own department, but am happy to be that vaguely pre-feminist person at TD's. So I just tell TD to bring the bulk of my baked goods to work to share with the coworkers. Half of the time he does this: apparently, the rest of the time he eats that batch of cookies or loaf of challah himself. But my lemon bars are a big hit at his workplace, and so here's the recipe:
I like this recipe because it has a brown sugar shortbread base, which is thick and has a warm, toffee-taste. I double the curd, and reduce the sugar slightly for a super bright, sweetly tart lemon experience. It's just a nice mix of textures and tastes.
Hot shortbread base:
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 2 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbs. flour
- 3-4 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp. salt
Whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, milk, and salt to blend well.
Assemble and bake:
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 40-50 minutes. (Check at 40 min). I check by prodding the middle with a dry spaghetti stick: wobbly is bad. When it stops wobbling, I check again by piercing it and seeing that the sphaghetti stick comes out mostly clean. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Cut into rectangles (I do rows of 6x6) and apparently they disappear within five minutes and are a big hit with your officemates and help you get favors.