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.
I have yet to be let down by this recipe; after all, it came from my grandmother (she was a saint, and must have gotten this recipe from God himself). On top of that unbeatable reference, it’s easy as pie (which, funnily enough, isn’t actually considered to be so easy. More on that in the future.)
Preheat your oven to a toasty 350. Process in a cuisinart until crumbly:
1 cup flour
1 stick butter (cold is best)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Press into a greased 8×8 pan with your fingers (I have not had the opportunity to “borrow” my mother’s dish yet, so I used a 9 inch pie dish…you don’t get uniform pieces, but who cares? You’re just going to end up shoveling them all into your mouth as you stand over the sink, anyway.) And bake for 20 minutes, or until just done (it’s going to be baked some more, so don’t cook it through).
In the meantime, whisk together:
1 cup sugar (I was going to process 2 T of lavender in with the sugar, if you’re curious)
2.5 T lemon juice (planned on substituting lavender infused water)
zest of one lemon, like so:
Make sure to use a firm lemon that’s very yellow, and don’t zest off any of the white pith. You want yummy, not bitter.
When the crust comes out, immediately pour the egg mixture on top and pop back in the oven for 20-25 minutes. The top should have a few golden brown patches, but overall it will look pale. A good way to tell if it’s underdone is to tip it: if you notice movement underneath the top crust then put it back into the warmth for a few more minutes. Pardon my lack of decent photos, but here is an idea of what it should look like (notice the pores on the surface, brown edges, pale center):
Wipe the drool off the counter and let cool on a wire rack. When it’s room temperature, sprinkle liberally (or not, if you’re feeling diabetic) with powdered sugar and cut into squares.
NOM NOM NOM!!