Thursday, December 3, 2009

24 Days of Christmas: Day 3. Lemon Bars

Today is the cookie exchange I'm in - 10 dozen each of two different recipes. That was a lot of baking! Recipe number one was, of course, yesterday's Chocolate Glazed Toffee Bars. Recipe number two is a classic: Lemon bars. Sweet shortbread, tangy lemon topping, what's not to love?

There's about a zillion recipes for lemon bars out there. This is the one I used for the exchange - normally I like my lemon bars to have more filling, but then they tend to be a bit goopy, which wouldn't be as good for a cookie swap. These are a little more subtle.

3/4 cup ( 1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 3 tablespoons
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
2 large lemons )
3 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13 by 9 pan with foil, and grease the foil lightly.

Mix together 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 sugar icing sugar. Add butter, and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Press mixture into bottom of foil lined pan, spreading evenly. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, zest one lemon and squeeze 1/2 cup of juice. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar together for 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder, remaining 3 tablespoons of flour, and salt, and beat until combined. Pour filling mixture over warm crust, and bake until filling is set and the top is golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Dust the top with remaining tablespoon of icing sugar. Set on a rack to cool. Cut into bars.

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