Friday, March 26, 2010

Lemon Squares

This past week I made lemon squares for the first time.  I think these are a great dessert this time of year, especially for bridal showers, baby showers, and brunches!

I've always been intimidated by lemon squares.  I see them as these dainty desserts that are served at fancy occasions (translation: they must be difficult to make, otherwise you would see them around more often, right?)  This is partly right.  Lemon squares not the most difficult thing to make (heck, I made them!), but they do take patience and time.  Lots of time.  Especially cooling time.  And we all know the hardest part about baking is the cooling process, because you're so excited that you made a new dessert that you want to cut into it immediately.  DO NOT DO THIS. 

This recipe was featured in the March issue of Southern Living, and can also be found their website.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest (or more if you like)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350. Line bottom and sides of 9x13 pan with heavy-duty foil or parchment paper (I used parchment paper). Allow 2-3 inches to extend over the sides.  Lightly grease the foil/parchment paper.  Stir together 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Add butter pieces. Put into a food processor and pulse 5-7 times (be sure not to over mix).  Press the mixture into the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned (see picture below).  Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a large bowl until smooth; whisk in granulated sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice.  Stir together baking powder and 1/4 cup of flour.  Whisk this into the egg mixture.  Pour over hot baked crust.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until filling is set.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Lift from pan, using foil sides, and let cool for another 30 minutes (see picture below).  Remove foil/parchment paper, cut into bars, and sprinkle powdered sugar.

This is the crust after it was baked.  Excuse the poor photo quality, these were taken with my phone.

This is the filling after it baked and cooled for 1 hour (longest hour of my life).  Again, poor photo quality.

Tip: if you are not planning on serving these immediately, wait to sprinkle the powdered sugar, otherwise it will soak into the lemon square and you will have to add more (which could be a good or bad thing).  Also, I think lemon squares taste better slightly chilled, so keep them in the refrigerator until you serve them (and before powder-sugaring).

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