Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Lemon Streusel Bars

A little cookie, a little cake, a little streusel, a little pie - face it, this one is a little bit of everything to everyone!

This great bar cookie is an old Southern Living recipe that they feature in their Classic Southern Desserts cookbook. It features a flaky and buttery shortbread type crust with a luscious lemon filling that's topped by a crumbly streusel and powdered sugar. Tart, buttery, sweet and simply superb. This will become a classic in your repertoire, I'm sure!

Although this takes a while to make, it's actually pretty easy because you can bake it in steps. As you're cooking one part you can assemble the next part and clean up. By the end you're all done and ready to enjoy this magnificent lemony treat!

I also stumbled upon a great new tip when doing this. I recently got a new pastry cutter at Williams-Sonoma and had been using it to cut the butter into the dry ingredients on this dish since I don't own a food processor. When I'd finished with everything and cooled the bars I happened to spy my pastry cutter drying nearby. I figured I'd see if it would make nice straight cuts in my bars. Usually, when I use a knife to cut bar cookies they invariably end up a bit crooked and with broken edges. Sure enough, using my pastry cutter gave me beautiful straight lines and no crumbly edges!

So, here's the recipe for Lemon Streusel Bars! Enjoy!

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 egg yolks
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 tsp. baking powder
4 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
powdered sugar (for sprinkling)

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine 2 cups flour, 3 tbs. sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Cut in 3/4 cup of butter until mixture resembles small peas. Add egg yolks and mix with mixer until mixture resembles course meal and clumps when squeezed. Press mixture into lightly greased 9x13 pan. (NOTE: You may do these steps in a food processor by combining ingredients and pulsing until mixture comes together in moist clumps.)

Bake at 350° for 16-18 minutes or just until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 325°.

Whisk together 6 eggs and 2 cups of sugar in bowl. Combine 1/2 cup flour and baking powder and whisk with egg mixture until blended. Whisk in lemon zest and lemon juice. Pour immediately over warm crust in pan.

Bake at 325° for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is set. Remove from oven.

Combine 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and 3/4 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar. Cut in 1/4 cup cold butter with pastry cutter/blender until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over lemon mixture evenly.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or just until top is lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on wire rack for 1 hour. Cut into pieces and sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar before serving.

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