This month's Sugar High Friday is edition #67, hosted at The Well-Seasoned Cook, where the theme is Bar None, a celebration of bar cookies. I love to bake but cookies are my least favorite thing to make- they just seem fussy and laborious somehow. Bar cookies are a different story because they straddle the line between cookie and cake and you can make 'em all in one big pan and cut them up, which fits my baking personality much better.
And my favorite bar cookies, bar none ;) are lemon bars. I make the condensed milk version every now and then, but spotted this luscious version on Alpineberry. Read the original post for the detailed recipe; what follows is the short-hand version. I deliberately made it slightly saltier than the original to bring out the lemon tang even more.
Lemon Bar Cookies from Alpineberry
- Oven: 350 F, 8x8 prepared pan
- Crust in food processor: 1 cup flour, 1⁄2 cup sugar, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, 1 stick cold butter. Pat down, bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
- Filling: 2 eggs, 1 cup icing sugar, 2 tbsp. flour, 1⁄4 tsp. salt, 1⁄4 cup lemon juice, lemon zest. Pour into crust, bake until just firm- about 20 minutes.
Next up, a simple lemonade concentrate to store in the fridge so that a refreshing glass of homemade lemonade is only seconds away.
- Use as many lemons as you like (I used 7; this magic number merely represents the number of lemons I found in the crisper). Zest 2 of them, then juice all of them. I use a couple of well-known tricks to extract the most juice from lemons. One is to warm up the lemons, either by zapping them for 15-20 seconds in the microwave or by placing them in warm water for 10 minutes. Another is to firmly roll the lemons on the countertop to break open cell walls and release the juice.
- Measure the lemon juice. I had 1 1⁄3 cup lemon juice.
- Grate some fresh ginger- about 2 tbsp. or so. Of course, you could use any additional flavors here (or none) like lemongrass, cardamom, saffron, vanilla, mint.
- In a saucepan, measure out a little less sugar than the volume of lemon juice. I used 1 cup sugar. Add an equal volume of water. Heat the sugar-water mixture until the sugar dissolves completely to make a simple syrup. Turn off the heat.
- Add lemon juice, lemon zest and grated ginger to the simple syrup. Cover and let the mixture cool down, then strain it into clean glass jars and refrigerate for 3-4 days (this might last longer in the fridge; I just don't know).
- To make lemonade, mix 1 or 2 tbsp. concentrate with a cup of chilled water.
When I am out walking Dale, people in the neighborhood often stop to chat with the dog. Today, we're out in the 3 PM full-on sunshine, and this lady says to Dale, "Is your mommy making you walk in this hot weather? It is too warm to be outside, isn't it, sweetie pie". Please note that there's no sympathy for the poor girl whose dog whined and nagged until she braved the heat and took him out. Sigh. I comforted myself with a tall glass of lemonade!