Alice Medrich's Lemon Bars
Aside from making a killer Key lime pie, speaking with just about any accent, and completing the NY Times crossword puzzles with a pen, I have another random talent; Baaing like a sheep. Not a lazy, childish, meh-baa, I'm talking a spot-on, where-the-heck-did-that-come-from?, Baaaa. Please, try not to be too jealous.
I'm not sure how, (or why,) I ever made my first "baa," but when you're a natural at something, it's only a matter of time before it finds you. (Sadly, my understanding of proper comma usage remains aloof, and out of reach.)
Much to the amusement of friends, and the embarrassment of family members, I can turn heads and procure confused, uncertain glances from complete strangers in grocery stores, malls, and restaurants. Most of the time, they can't quite locate the source of the noise and look around in vain for the elusive, petting zoo escapee. Good times...good times. ;-)
What on earth does this have to do with lemon bars?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except that when I took my first bite, I declared my love for these tart, perky, not-too-sweet, lemon bars with a resolute "baa!"
I think you will too. Or, at the very least, they'll induce a happy sigh, or silly grin. Lemons are strange that way. They make your tongue tingle, and quench a thirst that you didn't even realize you had.
And who knows, maybe they'll unleash your hidden animal. Hopefully, yours will be more glamorous than mine.
Tangy Lemon Bars
Recipe by Alice Medrich
Yields about 12 bars
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (I used 1 Tablespoon...about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line the inside of an 8x8 baking pan with foil (or parchment paper).
To make the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, combine melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Spread the dough (don't worry if it seems very wet) evenly in the bottom of the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is evenly browned.
While the crust is baking, prepare the topping: Stir together sugar and flour. Whisk in the eggs. Add lemon juice and zest and stir until well combined.
When the crust is baked (and still hot), pour in filling, turn oven down to 300, and bake for 20-20 minutes or until center no longer jiggles. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let the bars cool completely in pan before slicing.
Once cool, dust with confectioners' sugar.