Lemon Bars


Lemon Bars are one of my favorite desserts and I mean who doesn't love a good lemon bar?  The best lemon bar I have ever had was just the other day from NYC's Treats Truck  and was inspired to bake my own for a bake off with a few girls from work. I searched everywhere for the perfect recipe until I came across this simple and highly reviewed recipe from Smitten Kitchen, that uses a shortbread crust. Everyone at work approved of my little tarts and I'm sure I will be baking these quite often.  They are scrumptious! 

For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the lemon layer:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions: 
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl using an electric mixer. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

Cut into squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.










Valentines Day Chocolate Dipped Fruit 



Last night I decided to make chocolate dipped fruit on skewers as a special treat for all my valentines. I used strawberries, bananas, raspberries, and blackberries all dipped in semi-sweet chocolate covered in sprinkles and sugar crystals. I bunched about 5-6 different fruits and packaged them in clear and pink cellophane bags tied with pink ribbon. This was such an easy treat to make and made all my friends and coworkers feel special today!

Steps:

1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Put desired amount of chocolate morsels in a metal pot or bowl so it rests inside the saucepan. Be sure that the bowl does not touch the water inside. Reduce heat and let the chocolate melt.

2. Hand-wash all fruit and set aside. You can use any kind of fruit - everything tastes great dipped in chocolate. 






3. Pierce fruit on skewers and dip in the melted chocolate.  Sprinkle with toppings and set aside or place in the fridge so the chocolate hardens.


4. Once the chocolate hardens you can place them in indicudal bags and tie with pretty ribbon!. 



Pumpkin Cream Pie with Maple Whipped Cream

For Thanksgiving I made this delicious Pumpkin Cream Pie topped with maple whipped cream. It was a big hit amongst the family and fairly easy to make. The recipe requires no baking if you decide not to make your own crust. I was being lazy and gave up on making my own so I used a store bought graham cracker crust instead. Check out this easy peasy recipe below and impress your friends. 

Step 1: Beat cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until smooth and creamy.


Step 2: Add the powdered sugar to the mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.  


Step 3: Add the vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, molasses, and pumpkin puree and beat until thoroughly combined.




Step 4: Spoon the filling into the cooled pie or tart shell, or divide into individual ramekins.  Let pie chill in the fridge overnight.  



 Step 5: Beat together heavy cream and maple syrup until cream is in soft peaks.  Spread over the chilled pie and sprinkle with more maple syrup and cinnamon just before slicing.  Slice and serve.



Ingredients


Filling:


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon molasses
2 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree


For Topping:


1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup


Recipe Via Joy the Baker 

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