Lemon Bars

I promised Lemon-Lavender Bars, an excursion into the unknown (at least for me), but alas.  Every other conceivable spice/herb/plant based baking item was on the shelf, but not our much sought Lav!  Could I interest you in a lemon-gumbo file bar?  No?  How about essence of cardamom? Maybe not.

Well, let’s not cry about it.  Biting into a lemon bar reminds you that there still is good in the world, so we won’t deprive ourselves of that joy just because some stupid grocery store didn’t have the common decency to properly stock their shelves…names shall remain unmentioned.

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Cream Cheese Frosting

Here is a cake I made for my friend’s mother:

White cake with lemon curd filling and cream cheese frosting.  I had intended to make a lavender frosting, but that idea went south when the meringue-buttercream curdled.  I very nearly cried!  It’s hard to invest a pound of butter into a failed experiment.  But my next experiment is going to be even greater: Lemon-lavender bars!!! Are you ready for that jelly?

Until then, I will tide you over with the cream cheese frosting recipe, courtesy of Baker’s Illustrated (the best baking book EVER) and tweaked a tad by yours truly.  This frosting was the perfect tart/sweet ratio and stood up well after piping.
8oz cream cheese, softened
5T butter, softened
1 T light sour cream
1/2 t vanilla (or orange, almond, whatever goes best with what you’re making)
1 3/4 c powdered sugar

Whip the first four ingredients in a standing mixer (the cream cheese and butter MUST be soft– if not you will get lumpy frosting indicative of complete failure), scraping down the bowl.  Add the sugar and beat til smooth.  Lick fingers and dance around kitchen in ecstasy.