Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cozy comfort. And Lemon Bars!

Cozy comfort. It's something I've been quite fond of my whole life.

I think the reason I immediately fell in love with baking the very night I rushed out to buy my first cupcake mix and cheap muffin tin- at the ripe old age of 25- was because of the comfort factor. I love the tradition. I love making things that are sweet and pretty. I love being able to give away these cute confections that I put myself into, in the hopes that they will make someone special to me feel taken care of.

I think cozy comfort is anything that nourishes us, inside or out. Anything reminding us of family, love, joy, happy peace, connecting, the wonder of the world around us and how lucky we are for all we have. Beauty. Anything delicious.

For me~
BBC murder mysteries.
The library.
My mom's house.
Picking out Christmas cards at the book store.
Knowing that all is well-- perhaps lovely, even?-- and more goodness is on the way.

And lemon bars!

These were my first baking from scratch, something that used to seem so impressive and daunting, and now, not really hard at all, just the enjoyable and right way to do it! :)

This recipe, adapted oh so slightly from, is so good, so dangerous...

I love and love lemon in sweets. The way the sour tang tempers the sweetness..... mm, it just makes these bars all the more binge-able, which is a delight and alas, not ideal. But we must strive to continually grow, and each time I make a batch of these, I offer myself the opportunity to practice restraint! And as I am a work in progress................

These are one of my favorite things to bring to my parents and grandparents. They love them, and it gets them away from my powdered sugar-stained fingers that don't seem to stop until the pan is empty.

Of course, I invariably regret it the next day when I don't have my breakfast, lunch, and dinner of choice available anymore. But I work through the pain, or soon make some more.I give you~

Lovely Lemon Bars

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 large lemons)
2 eggs
1 tbs grated lemon zest (just get all you can from the 2 lemons)
Wash and zest the lemons first. Then, juice the lemons, either with a handy kitchen utensil made just for doing this sort of thing, or using a strainer and just squeezing really hard.
2 tbs all-purpose flour

More confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 with rack in center. Butter or spray an 8x8 baking pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I use a hand mixer for this. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press into the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 18 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.

Beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in the flour. Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for 20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

That's it!

Enjoy- they are so gosh darn good.

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