Friday, March 5, 2010

Vanilla Bean Lemon Squares

I made lemon bars because it's practically spring

in Southern California.

It wasn’t spring in London yet. No, it most certainly was not.

So, needless to say, I’m happy to be home. This weather rocks, (I can’t believe I used to be one of those annoying people who complained about Southern CA not having seasons) and I get to cuddle with this guy because he loves me and we’re BFFs.

And I get to use an oven that isn’t the size of a microwave and a microwave that isn’t the size of a shoe box. And I don’t have to worry about screwing up measurement conversions anymore.

I made lemon bars using some ancient Betty Crocker cookbook I found at my in-laws’ house. I *know* I always use Betty Crocker recipes but seriously, it's because she never does me wrong. Besides, our moms used these recipes and their moms used them too--what better proof that they're actually reliable? They also happen to be simple recipes that respond very well to creative interpretation.

For example, I added a vanilla bean to the crust, which only seemed to emphasize it's buttery shortbready goodness. As for the rest of these bars, you can look forward to a crispy, crackly top and a creamy tart lemon filling.

Vanilla Bean Lemon Squares
adapted from Betty Crocker

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• ½ cup butter

• ¼ cup powdered sugar

• ½ vanilla bean, scraped for seeds

• 1 cup granulated sugar

• 2 teaspoons lemon zest

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice

• ½ teaspoon baking powder

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 2 eggs
• Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350ºF. Mix flour, butter, vanilla seeds and powdered sugar.

Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches, building up 1/2-inch edges. Bake crust 20 minutes.

Beat granulated sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice, baking powder, salt and eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool; dust with powdered sugar. Cut into about 1 1/2-inch squares.


Matt said...

wow i love lemon bars, they are kind of a big deal in my family.. and this new twist with vanilla bean?! they look soOOoo grood!

Andrea said...

nice! I'll have to bring some to your mom's next shindig. Adam's mom and I are the only ones who like lemon bars. We win!

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