Monday, July 11, 2011

Lemon Squares

I had a request from a good friend, who is totally my partner in crime when it comes to shopping for shoes and clothes, for Lemon Squares.  I said absolutely and that I will bring some to her to our upcoming ladies lunch/shopping date.  Of course I had to do a dry run of these before I brought them to her.  I took out my Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook and looked it over - seemed simple enough....and it is. 

I looked at the crust for it and thought I would be inventive and go for a Nilla Wafer crust.  So instead of using flour, I used crushed up Nilla Wafers - I thought it came out pretty good.  You could also use graham crackers if you would like, I think they would work well in these as well.  But other than the switch of Nilla Wafers for flour, I stuck to the recipe as it was. 

I made the crust and stuck it into the freezer to firm up before it went into the oven.  Once ready, I baked it off.  It did come out a dark golden brown - and that's due to the Nilla Wafers, so if you use flour it won't be as dark as this.

golden brown crust
While the crust was in the oven baking, I made the filling - really easy too.  Once the crust was out of the oven, I poured it over the crust and put it back into the oven.  Once the edges are light brown and the center is set, it's time to pull it out.

After a while, pull the corners of the parchment paper and pull it out of the pan to finish cooling completely.  Of course, it was heavier than I thought and it was too much weight for my bad hand and I kinda almost dropped it.  As a result of my boo boo, I ended up having a giant crack in the middle of the cake :(  But it was OK - I knew that I would get to cover it all with confectioner's sugar and it wouldn't be that bad of a mess.

Once they were cooled, I got out my flour sifter (great to use if you don't have a powder shaker) and went to town making it snow all over the top of the lemon squares.  Then I cut them all up and put them in my fancy Tupperware. 

oh yeah
Of course I tried one, so good.  And not overpowering in the lemon department.  My only complaint was that the bottoms were a little too buttery so I think when I make them again I'm going to change the butter amount to less and see what happens. 

Lemon Squares
makes about 2 dozen

1 1/2 sticks of butter, frozen, plus more for dish
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
3/4 tsp coarse salt

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp coarse salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup whole milk
Confectioner's Sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9"x13" glass baking dish and line with parchment paper.
  2. Make crust:  Grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes; set aside.  Whisk together flour, confectioner's sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Add butter, stir with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture looks crumbly.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared dish; press evenly onto bottom with your hands.  Freeze crust 15 minutes.  Bake until slightly golden, 16-18 minutes.  Leave oven on.
  4. Meanwhile, make filling:  Whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, flour and salt in a bowl until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice and milk.  Pour over hot crust.
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees, and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 minutes.  Let cool slightly on wire rack.  Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into 2" squares.  Dust with confectioner's sugar.  Can be refrigerated in airtight containers up to 2 days.  

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