Lemon Bars

With Easter this weekend and signs of springtime everywhere, I knew I had to make something bright and springy to celebrate the onset of my favorite season.

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And what’s more springy than lemon bars??

These are tart, not too sweet, with a thick flaky, buttery crust.  I love the crust layer so these are perfect for me–equal parts crust to lemon layer.  If you’re not as much of a crust fan, you could double the ingredients in the lemon layer to make the ratio more to your liking (you might just need to bake the bars a bit longer).  I adapted the recipe slightly from this recipe, with great results!

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Speaking of spring, I think it’s Junior’s favorite season, too.  He loves everything about it, considering his favorite hobbies include:

(1) chasing squirrels and bunnies
(2) bounding through tall grasses
(3) rolling around in freshly cut grass
(4) hiking
(6) running with me
(5) leaping into mud puddles
(6) pretty much every other outdoor activity that involves getting dirty

We’ve been running quite a bit lately, and unfortunately he managed to cut his paw on something a few days ago!  He didn’t appear to notice, and it was raining that day, so I didn’t notice until we got home and he tracked some bloody footprints all over the kitchen!

It didn’t slow him down at all so I cleaned his paw and bandaged it, and forced Junior to wear a sock and a bootie on that foot for a few days.

He wasn’t much of a fan, but he looked silly and adorable in his bootie so, of course, I took pictures.

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But, his foot seems to be healed now and we can both enjoy the outdoors again!  He can frolic in the grass, and I can sit on my deck with a lemon bar (or two…).

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Lemon Bars
makes about 25 bite sized bars

Ingredients:

Crust:
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

Filling:
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest (zest of about 2 lemons)
1/3 cup lemon juice (juice of about 2 lemons)
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line an 8 x 8 or 9 inch round pan with foil (making sure the foil completely covers the bottom and sides, with a bit of overhang over the edges).  Grease the foil lightly with cooking spray.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture has the consistency of coarse meal.  It will appear a bit powdery, but should squish together to form something relatively solid in your hand.  Dump the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing it into an even layer.  Refrigerate for about 15 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

While the crust is baking, make the filling by whisking together the eggs, sugar, and flour.  Whisk in the lemon zest, juice, milk, almond extract, and salt until well combined and no longer grainy.  When the crust has finished baking, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, pour the lemon filling over the warm crust, and return to the oven for 18-20 minutes, until the filling has set and is relatively firm to the touch.  Cool the bars completely, then use the foil overhang to remove them from the pan.  Sprinkle with more powdered sugar and slice into bite sized pieces.

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