I live in Arizona. We have more sun here than anywhere else in the country. This is a great thing. When it does rain or is cool and overcast I get such an intense desire to bake. This has been one of the wettest January/February’s on record. So consequently I have been doing a ton of baking. Seriously, if the sun doesn’t come out to stay for a while I may get too big to get out the door. A couple of days ago I made an angel food cake from scratch. It was pretty good except the recipe I was adapting it from called for orange extract instead of vanilla or almond and I thought it sounded interesting so I tried it. The cake was good but I hated the orange in it. It completely ruined it for me. However, next rainy day you know what I’ll be up to. The cake recipe used 12 egg whites so I was left with 12 egg yolks that I needed to find a use for. I came across a site that listed a bunch of different uses for egg yolks. One of the ideas was lemon bars with real lemon curd on top. I love lemon bars. They are a favorite of mine although they are rarely lemony or tart enough for my liking. So, enter wickedly tart lemon squares. I made them last night and WOW they are awesome. They are super lemony and a bit tart but very sweet too. True, this is not the kind of recipe I usually post but in my defense I really had to use up those egg yolks. I don’t want to give the impression that I am all about health food or that I have a perfect diet. I soooooo don’t. I only aspire to.
Well, since I am being honest I have to confess that for me, these perfect lemon bars were like crack, not that I know what that is like first hand. I made them last night and all day today kept coming back for just one more taste. By dinner time I realized that half of the 9×13 pan was gone. I ate most of it since Ron was at work. That is really not like me. Of all the sweet things I make I usually only have one or two small servings. This dessert was different. So when I realized what I had done I felt immediate guilt. My first thought was that I would call my friend and neighbor to see if she would take the rest of them so that I didn’t finish them myself. Then, like an addict, I thought, no I want it all to myself, I don’t want to share. I went back and forth like this for a couple hours. Seriously. Then I came to my senses and called Susanne. Unbelievably she had the NERVE to say NO! What kind of friend says no when you tell them you need help? I needed her to share the calories with me and to at least half the guilt. NO!? Then she had the audacity to ask me if I had been to the gym this week!!! I told her to “Shut it!”
Tomorrow is another day. Susanne, you are so ON! I just needed that kick in the pants. I hate you today. I’ll love you tomorrow. Maybe I should shame myself into eating better and getting to the gym by posting my weight and measurements….. Or maybe not.
2 sticks of butter (1 cup) cold and cut into cubes (see how good this is starting out?)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup Kim’s All Purpose Flour
1 cup millet flour
12 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 – 1 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup melted butter
pinch of salt
zest from 5 lemons (maybe 2-3 TBSP) Use a fine microplane for this.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor add the cold butter and sugar. Process until smooth. Then add your flours. Process until the flour is blended in and it forms a ball. Dump out the shortbread into a 9×13 glass Pyrex pan. Press dough down to an even layer. Bake for 35 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown. While that is baking make the lemon curd. In a saucepan over medium- low heat add your egg yolks, sugar and salt. Whisk together until smooth. Add the melted butter and all that lemon juice. While stirring constantly, use a candy thermometer to slowly reach a temperature of 196 degrees. Do not boil it or the eggs will curdle. Once the filling has thickened and can coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from heat and immediately pour it through a fine mesh. I almost skipped this part because my filling looked completely smooth. I did it anyway and sure enough there were tiny bits of cooked egg. Add the lemon zest and stir well. When the base is cooked pour filling over top and smooth to edges. Drop the temperature of your oven to 300 degrees and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave it to come to room temperature. Then refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour for it to set. When it comes out of the oven it will look like the filling is not set. Don’t worry, it will set in the fridge. To serve you can cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar. Or you can do it like I did. Keep taking tiny slivers off the edges, don’t use a plate, pop it right into your mouth and then you can try to convince yourself that you didn’t just eat half the pan.