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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


The other day Kate and I were in the car and we made a bet.  It's not important what the bet was about, mostly because I lost, and the payoff was that I would bake Kate the dessert of her choice.  Frankly this wasn't a hardship for me since I bake at least once or twice a week.  I also knew that Kate's not all that creative when it comes to what she would choose.  It's not like she would have chosen Floating Island or Baked Alaska.  Fortunately I was right because I have absolutely no idea how to make a Baked Alaska.

Kate chose lemon squares.  I mean, could she have made a better choice?  I love lemon squares and I have a great recipe.  As far as I'm concerned, lemon squares are the perfect dessert.  They have that delicious shortbread crust and then the gooey, tart lemon filling.  It just doesn't get better than that.

So, this morning I got to work and made the lemon squares.  As always, they came out perfectly.  It took a lot of self control not to eat one for breakfast.  I let them cool completely, and they came out of the pan beautifully.  All in all, I'd say we both won this bet.

Recipe:  Lemon Bars
(Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, 1999)


For the crust
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling
6 extra large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioner's sugar for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar and light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.  Dump the flour onto a well floured board and gather into a ball.  Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2 inch baking pan or sheet.  Chill for 10 minutes.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.  Pour over the baked crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is net.  Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into triangles or squares and dust with confectioner's sugar.

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