Thursday, February 18, 2010

brightness in your mouth, brightness in your day

i just made that title up. it sounds like a byline to a porno title.
kids, don't come here for classy.
come here for other reasons, but do not come here for class.
that's what she said

While the days are now getting refreshingly brighter through each afternoon and the sun is setting each evening later and later, the world is still a frozen ice block outside my doors. I like to bake when the days are like this. It makes the house smell nice, I get to stuff my face and share with friends and family, plus I and/or my sanity, gain a sense of accomplishment. See? We ALL benefit.

In the chilly days of February I long for the zestiness of life. Yellow. Lemon comes to mind. I love the the brightness of lemon, the tangy awakening citrus brings to the senses. I grabbed a bag of lemons on sale last week to add a slice here & there to my water to change things up and combat the winter scurvy I fear developing each winter. I also had almost a dozen free-range eggs from my friends chicken coop just sitting there, just waiting to be used and appreciated. Enter my trusty Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking cookbook, circa 1993. I open to a recipe I had tabbed years ago. The recipe for Sunburst Lemon Bars with the accompanying picture were prefect, it required the juice of lemons, many eggs, and I felt good attempting something else I have wanted to try for a while.

Sunburst Lemon Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened

4 eggs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, prepare crust. Stir together 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix in butter at low speed until the mixture is crumbly. Press in the bottom of ungreased 9x13 inch pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is light golden brown.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, white sugar, 1/4 cup flour and baking powder with an electric mixer until light, about 3 minutes. Then stir in the lemon juice. Pour the filling over the crust while it is still warm from the oven. Bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes until the top is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool.

Once cooled, prepare glaze. In a small bowl, stir lemon juice into the 1 cup powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the icing is of a spreadable consistency. Spread evenly & cut into squares.


I wanted to try cutting out some different shapes considering i had a 9x13 inch pan full. I used a heart shaped cookie-cutter to make some little hearts. ok, I bent an unidentifiable christmas cutter into a heart), cut out a row the same height as the heart shape, pressed down - HARD - carefully transferred each heart to the plate. once plated, I lightly dusted the top, sides and plate, and added some curled lemon rind to the top of each. I love them!

So, while chocolate will always be an intense fave in these parts, I'm glad I had a hankering for something bright and intense, something that reminded me of the good old days of tea with squares on doilies and plates. Something a grandmother would make. Something I imagined only having access to now at funeral receptions on dainty platters. I wanted to bake something I had never made before. And I did. And it rocks. No waiting for funerals for me!



LazyBones said...

Holy crap, those lemon bars look delish! My mom always used to make them and I love lemon bars. And, hey, your paintings on your last post are great! I especially liked both drive and momma said. Do you ever sell reproductions of your work? Good luck with the cabin fever. If we're in the same weather band, unfortunately we probably have a long way to go! I'm in Syracuse, an hour-ish south of Watertown. Every single winter I wonder what the hell I'm doing here! I really need to take up some winter sport, like skiing or snowshoeing. One of these years...


leel said...

@Katy Thanks! The lemon squares are a treat, thats for sure. They are so worth it! We all need a little lemon in our lives :)

re: my artwork. thanks!(gulp)I am such a fraidy cat about sharing it. (damn you, Fear *shakes fist*)I havent shown or sold anything yet, but am looking to launch a little shop selling some of my work, and start looking into prints and sell some upcycled vintage furniture that currently take up 75% of my garage. So thanks for the question/comment on the artwork. I love those 2 paintings as well. They actually translate so much better in real life; the colours are so much more... different. I love those 2 too!

cabin fever is getting better; at least we dont get that lake effect snow that you guys get there. I am very familiar with Syracuse! I have been there a couple of times, and my dad just married a woman who lives there; he lives there 1/2 time now. Small world! (waves!)

winter sports are cold. that is all i will say about that. but yes, cross country skiing is on my list. Maybe next year. yah.

thanks katy!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

I have had a hankering for lemon bars for weeks now! Every time I look at the recipe with "egg yolks" though... I get queasy. sigh... Can't I just use the pre-made, sugary crap ones from the box???

leel said...

Hi Tracey! Welcome!
The only thing that made me feel ok about the egg yolks was that they were baked until cooked. And um, instant/bought stuff is my second BF. No shame there! Baking is Baking, I say!


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