It’s snowing today.
And I got better after being sick last week, and I felt like a god for being so healthy. I made pink cupcakes for Sadie’s birthday using real red food coloring, and hosted all her favorite girls at a Chinese restaurant. I know it sounds like a disaster, but it was a great success. Here’s a glimpse:
Then the pendulum really swung from the self pity and sick feeling. Over the weekend, I had the oddest dream- where I was watching myself, and I was like, “I am so cute! Just look at me. I look great!” I kid you not. And I must say, I wish this dream on you, because I woke up feeling like a million bucks. I swaggered around all day, culminating in my evening trip to the local Big Y, where (and I can’t quite say why) I had my own personal supermarket party. I danced to the music, I spent ten minutes trying to find pickles without hfcs in them, I bought everything on sale- I was hot. I came back home singing.
And then on Monday I got sick again.
The lesson I should learn? Not quite sure yet. But I’m achy and grumpy again. And did I mention that it is snowing? So I’m reaching back a little to a recipe that just makes me happy and radiates the sun off the plate. I’ve been meaning to write about this one- I just haven’t needed it’s presence so much until now. So here you go- if you’ve never made lemon bars, they are way easier than you think.
Very Tangy Lemon Bars
from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich
Makes 16 large or 24 small bars
• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 c. sugar
• 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1 c. flour
• 1 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
• 3 tbsp. flour
• 3 eggs
• 1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
• 1/2 c. strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Powdered sugar for dusting, optional
Position a rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of 8- by 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
To make crust: In a medium bowl, combine melted butter with sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour and mix until just incorporated. Press dough evenly over bottom of pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until crust is fully baked, well-browned at the edges and golden brown in the center.
To make topping: While crust is baking, stir together sugar and flour in a large bowl until well-mixed. Whisk in eggs. Stir in lemon zest and juice. When crust is ready, reduce heat to 300 degrees, slide rack with pan out and pour filling onto hot crust. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer, or until topping no longer jiggles when pan is tapped.
Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool completely. Then refrigerate for at least one hour. Lift up foil liner and transfer bars to a cutting board.
Using a long, sharp knife, cut bars into 16 or 24 daintier bars and sift powdered sugar over bars, if desired. Stored in an airtight container, bars can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.