June 12, 2013

Sunshine Lemon Bars

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.  The sun peeked out in the past few days.  Timidly.  Just brushing our cheeks and shoulders with some warm rays.  Making us remember that summer is actually just around the corner.  That it hasn’t forgotten.  

When the days are long and sunny, it’s hard feel bad about anything.  “My experiments went really badly today” I said to Alex with a huge smile.  Because the sun was out, and who can worry about a silly experiment when you get to walk outside in the sun? 

This is now.  But when the long June days were full of rain and cool winds I made my own sunshine.  I zested sunshine.  I squeezed tart, sunshiney juice.  I mixed sunshine and poured it on top of a cookie base. 

Lemon tarts are a house favourite.  The more lemony the better.  And these are that.  Just lingering on the edge of too sour, yelling at our taste buds to wake up.  So wake up!  Summer and sunshine are coming and it starts here today. 

Lemon Squares
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Joy of Baking

1 cup (226 g) butter
40g icing sugar
60g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour

4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 large, juicy lemons)
2/3 cup flour

For the crust:

Grease a 9x13 pan and line with parchment paper so that it hangs over two sides.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugars until smooth and light in colour.  

Add salt and flour and mix until just combined into a soft dough.  Dump into the prepared pan and, using your fingers, pat into an even layer with slightly raised edges.  Put in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350F.  When chilled, bake the crust in the center of the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a light, golden brown.  Let cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling. 

For the filling:

Whisk together all ingredients and pour over the crust. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or about 5 minutes after filling is set.  Let cool before slicing into bars.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving. 

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