Baked Sunday Mornings: Lemon Lime Bars

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Sometimes the simplest recipes feel like a triumph. Lemon curd is one of those basic baking things that I just do not have a good handle on; like, sometimes it comes out fine, and other times it more closely resembles lemon soup. So I always hold my breath when making fruit curd, because I just never know what life is going to give me. When I made Joanne Chang’s Super Lemon Curd for her Lemon Lust Bars several years ago, which I enjoyed, I look back and see what a mess my lemon curd was! Citrus desserts will rarely supersede chocolate or caramel for me, so lemon curd is not something I make a point of practicing… which is why it’s great that Baked Sunday Mornings tackled the Lemon Lime Bars from BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking this week on the baking schedule. I was rather delighted with them, if I do say so myself– these are by far the nicest looking and tasting lemon bars I’ve ever made. (All two recipes of them, but still.)

I just loved the crust on these! It’s made by combining toasted coconut, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and butter. (The addition of coconut to a traditional graham crust is pretty brilliant– I might have to hijack that idea for other graham crust recipes.) This goodness gets pressed into a cake pan, chilled, and then baked. You know… now that I think about it, I’m not even sure that I baked the crust! I made it super-rushed the night before making the lemon curd and stuck it in the fridge, and now I honestly can’t remember if I actually baked it or not! Haaaaa. But no matter, it was totally delicious and didn’t crumble. (Maybe I did bake it?? We’ll never know.) The only thing I would change is to increase it by 50%, because this girl like a thick crust on her bars.

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Then on to the curd! (Ugh, that word.) You’ll make this lemony stuff by placing a crap-ton (read = 11) of egg yolks, eggs, a hefty dose of sugar, and lemon and lime zests and juices in a pot, whisk it up, and cook it to a temperature of 180°F. I expected the lemon curd to be a lot thicker when I turned off the heat, but it was still quite thin, so once again I thought I’d done something wrong. Nevertheless I continued by whisking in butter and cream, and pouring the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve directly onto the crust.

I was worried that it wouldn’t bake, and indeed after the recommended 10-minute baking time, it was totally liquid, and I was afraid it was ruined. Sadness! I had no recourse but to leave the pan in the oven longer to see if the bars could be salvaged, so I gave it another 10 minutes… and voilà, to my shock the slab of lemon bars was perfectly baked! This is a keeper– tasters loved it, and I loved the lime zing, especially against the toasted coconut in the crust. The bars cut with beautifully clean edges– wow. So now I have a lemon bar recipe that I’d happily make any time, which is so exciting for me because it fills a long-time gap in my repertoire of basic baked goods. (I really feel like giving someone a high-five right now.)

I rarely feel like eating citrus in the winter because I’m consumed with chocolate and gingerbread and sugar cookies, but I will certainly pull this recipe out in warmer times that call for refreshing lemon. You can find the recipe for Lemon Lime Bars at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2019.

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