Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Creamy Lemon Bars

I've had this recipe in my "must try" pile for quite some time now, and I finally got around to making it today for dinner group. And may I just say, "you're welcome." I sacrificed the two pounds I finally lost last week just to bring you this. Granted, I didn't have to eat half the pan, but it really was completely unavoidable. They had to be eaten, and it was just as easily done by me than someone less deserving of these remarkably beautiful bars. Remember that Lemon Cheesecake I raved over back at Thanksgiving? This is a simpler, quicker version that will satisfy that same lemon craving. These are creamy, refreshing, and simply perfect.

I found the recipe on a site I like to peruse quite a bit, The Daily Bite. The original recipe is enough for a square pan, but really, that's laughable... that's about enough for my breakfast. So, I've taken the liberty of doubling the recipe for you. Again, you're welcome.

40 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cold real butter

2 pkgs. (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 1/2 - 2 cups granulated sugar ( I used a full 2 cups, but I think you could get away with less)
4 eggs
4 Tbsp. flour
6 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, divided
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (definitely go fresh if you've got it)
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 9x13 inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. (The foil isn’t too pretty, but it makes clean-up and cutting the bars a cinch!)

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender. If you don’t have a pastry blender, just use 2 knives, or even your fingers to break up the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 4 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 2 Tbsp. lemon zest and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. (Mine didn't brown at all... but the center was completely set after 25 minutes) Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. These bars improve with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator. (As if you'll have leftovers!)

4 comments:

Kari said...

Emily, you are a cooking god.

Super Daysh said...

mmmmm good. These are yummy. I made them tonight and they are perfection. T-a-s-t-y!

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