I guess you could say I grew up in a family of good southern cooks. Both of my grandmothers, and my mother (who are all no longer with us may they rest in peace) were excellent cooks and got me started in the kitchen at a young age. I can remember my first major cooking accident…sitting on my Meemaw’s kitchen counter trying to “help her cook” , going to grab something off the counter ( and this is at the age of 3 mind you) and 5 seconds later realizing that the very large blade of the chef’s knife had nearly cut off my left thumb. I was rushed to emergency, and don’t remember much after that. Needless to say it didn’t change my attitude about wanting to know how to cook and cook good. In high school, I had a similar accident one morning trying to cut a bagel in half before toasting it, this time it sliced through my skin on my outer thumb cutting through the tendon. I was in the emergency room once again, but not crying quite as much this time. My dad went out and bought a plastic bagel slicer that same day! so funny!
It is my hope that this blog, that I share with my now boyfriend, soon-to-be something else one day mate will inspire you to get in the kitchen and get cooking! I have so many girl friends and guy friends who think they can’t cook. What is the worst that could happen? You make a big mess in your kitchen and burn something? Oh freaking well! Darn! I have learned over the years…and I still have many many more dinners to cook in my future, that cooking is all about practice. The more you do it the better you get at it. You develop your own technique. jimmy didn’t grow up in a family of cooks like I did, and it is my daily battle with him to teach him how easy it can be! We will all grow and learn together, and maybe along the way swap some good recipes. With that, I will pass along one of my very favourite recipes ( I spell it this way because I think it’s prettier and I like to think that I am British of Australian in my own little world!) …one that I recently perfected…in the south some people call them squares, but in my book they’re bars.
With love, your fellow foodie~
Simple Lemon Bars
- 1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- vegetable oil, for greasing
- 4 large eggs, plus 2 more egg yolks
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice, or 1/2 concentrate and 1/2 fresh juice
- confectioner’s sugar, for garnish
To make crust, position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with vegetable oil and line with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on each side. Also lightly grease inside of foil with oil. Pulse the butter, both sugars, and salt in a food processor until the dough comes together. ( I did this step without the use of a food processor and the dough came together very easily with a little bit of elbow grease! Like my Meemaw always said, the best tool you have in the kitchen is your hands! ) Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan with about 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan, making sure there are no cracks. Bake until the crust is golden, about 25 mins.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl until smooth. Then whisk in lemon juice and zest. ( I know it sounds wierd but don’t leave out the flour! It makes the filling nice and thick!) Remove the crust from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Pour the filling over the warm crust and bake until filling is just set, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the bars cool in pan on rack. Then refrigerate at least 2 hours. For this step, I refrigerated them overnight before cutting into them. I know it’s hard to resist tasting one but they really are the best when they are nice and cold! They easily slide out of the foil and pan when you go to cut them the next day! Garnish with confectioner’s sugar to your liking and enjoy!! 🙂