Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

You probably think I'm talking about Christmas. 


Come on, people. Get with the program. 

I cannot believe it's taken me this long to write about this recipe since I've been making it for over 20 years, a fact which I find rather unsettling. I first found the recipe when I so desperately wanted to make a dessert, yet, being 10 years old, had to work with what Mom had on hand at home. This worked. Our crisper drawer was never without lemons & the other ingredients are pretty basic.

Over the years, I've adapted the recipe from the original in the Wilmette Community Nursery School benefit cookbook a bit, but I still love it because odds are you've got most or all of the ingredients on hand. Nothing crazy is required, although I must say, Meyer lemons really make this special. But if you only have regular lemons, those work, too. This isn't fancy.

Another good thing to keep in mind is that I successfully made this, unsupervised, at age 10. Which means you can probably make it, too, even if you suck at baking. I'm confident of this because when I was 10, I didn't understand that measuring carefully actually mattered in the baking process. I actually didn't figure that out until rather recently in my cooking history. Despite that, this recipe still came out ok, time and time again. 

Kate’s Meyer Lemon Bars
Makes an 8"x8" pan, or 32 1"x2" bars

½ cup butter, softened
1 cup flour
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon flour
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon*
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice*


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, flour, and confectioner’s sugar. Spread and flatten in a well-greased (or, ideally, parchment-lined) 8x8 pan. I find that fingers are the best tool for this process. Dock the crust (that means "poke holes in it with a fork") and bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
Docking in action. Please also note my total dork move of using binder clips to secure the parchment to the pan. Mock me if you want, but this works so well I now keep the clips in a drawer in my kitchen. Right next to the wine opener.

When the crust just barely begins to brown, it's time to pull it from the oven.

Meanwhile, make the filling by combining the eggs, sugar, flour, zest, and juice with a whisk until completely combined. 

Filling ingredients before the whisk.

In-process whisking.

And done.

Pour over baked (warm) crust. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes. 

Cool. (I strongly suggest making these the day or at least the morning before you want to serve them and chill them in the fridge. They should be refrigerator-cold when you cut them into bars. (I like to cut the bars into pieces that are about 1 inch wide by 2 inches long.)  

Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving cold or at room temperature.

No, you're not drunk. (Are you?) In my holiday party prepping frenzy I forgot to take any pictures of the finished product. This one is enlarged and cropped from another picture. Hence the blur.

*You can substitute normal lemons for the zest and juice if you can’t find Meyer lemons.

This recipe is easily doubled and baked in a 9"x13" pan, if you need dessert for a crowd.  

May you find the magic in Meyer lemons (or something...or someone...else) this holiday season.
And that is why it's the most wonderful time of the year.



Kathleen said...

Yum! I love lemon. Might have to get some Meyer Lemons and give this a whirl.

Kate said...

Kathleen, if that's the case, you should DEFINITELY make Alice Waters' Lemon Curd with Meyer Lemons (from The Art of Simple Food). It's beyond delicious.

JenGentry said...

Our Meyer Lemon tree is popping with beautiful yellow color. My husband said "I wish I had a recipe to use them." I said....."Oh...I know who does!" These will be making an appearance at a super bowl party that we are attending today.

Kate said...

Jen, that's awesome! Hope you guys have a great time at the party!