Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lemon Bars Extraordinaire

On a recent adventure to Escalante Utah to go hiking we found an unexpected delight, Lemon Bars. We ate at the Kiva Koffeehouse and had what they called luscious lemon bars. They were amazing, life changing bars. We asked for the recipe and were told that she just threw things together and never used the same recipe.
When I arrived home I began a quest to find the best lemon bars. I really love Mel's Kitchen Cafe recipe but the Escalante recipe had a creamy dream like texture. I made lemon bars for 3 nights after work until I tweaked it to perfection. Luckily, I have great coworkers who were my taste testers.

Other adventures in Escalante included: Calf Creek Falls

Devil's Garden

Spooky Gulch

Spooky Gulch

Peek-A-Boo Gulch

Lemon Bars 
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe Recipe-added cream cheese and changed milk to whipping cream

    For the Crust:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on bars
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), at cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
    For the Filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, from 2 large lemons
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 3 to 4 large lemons
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 block cream cheese (8oz at room temp)
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  1. Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment.
  2. Stir together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt (in food processor). Add the pieces of butter and cut the butter into the dry ingredients and process in the food processor for 8 to 10 seconds until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer on the bottom and about 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. For the filling, process in food processor the eggs, sugar, salt, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, whipping cream and flour  to combine.
  4. Pour the filling onto the warm crust (it's important that the crust is still warm!) and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for about 18-20 minutes until the filling feels slightly firm to the touch. Cool the bars to room temperature, place in fridge until chilled, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars.

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