Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Lemon-Lime Bars...

After a nasty snow storm last week and with chilly temperatures abound, we wanted to shine a few rays of sun into this week's Wednesday Treat Day by making a batch of these Lemon-Lime Bars.

For the platform underneath the bright filling of these bars, we needed to prepare the rich base and give it a head start in the oven. Made by combining softened butter with a dose of moist brown sugar and fresh lemon zest, the creamy concoction was firmed up by adding flour and a couple pinches of salt. We patted the buttery crumbles into the pan and slid it into the oven to bake until it was lightly golden and almost set.

While that was happening, the zesty filling was prepared by mixing a combination of several eggs, granulated sugar, fresh lemon juice and a couple of surprise ingredients (if you could see me, I'd have one eyebrow raise in a sinister tone...); baking powder and nutmeg! I'll get back to those in a little bit though. When the sweet and tart mixture was combined, we whisked in a bit more lemon zest to punch up the power, along with a touch of lime to broaden the line. Poured over the hot crust, this needed to bake until the edges were lightly browned and the center just set. You can't just go and slice this into pieces though... it needs time for the flavors to meld and the eggy filling to firm up. This is why I wasn't able to talk about these bars yesterday as they needed to sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours first. With a blanket of confectioners' sugar coating the top, you could certainly stop here with a delicious set of tangy bars, but we wanted to add another level.

For a fun element on top, we candied thin slices of key limes, along with strips of fresh lemon zest in a heavy sugar syrup. It may sound like extra work, but really, it took just a few minutes and it adds such a decorative finish! The syrup is made by heating together sugar and water in a 3:1 ratio - the strips of zest and slices of lime were tossed in and after simmering for two minutes, they are removed and spread out over a rack to cool.

I found the bars to sliced well and loved how well the balance of sweet to tart was. The baking powder in the filling allowed it to be light and airy - not as dense as you might find in a traditional lemon bar. The nutmeg? Hmm... that's a loaded question - if I didn't know it was in there, I definitely couldn't pick it out, but we both thought we tasted an extra zing in the bars that made them even better. Forgo the candied citrus if you must as it doesn't make or break these, but why not give it a try? It's those little unexpected touches like this that can make all the difference!

The other day we had this Asian Pear and Apple Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette as a side to dinner and I never got a chance to talk about it.

To coat a duo of tender salad greens and crisp romaine that created the bulk of this salad, we dressed the salad in a mixture of extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, a dash of sugar, minced garlic, paprika, dry mustard, basil and a pinch of cayenne pepper.

For juicy, crunchy bites threaded throughout, we cubed a large Asian pear and complimented it with tart chunks of Granny Smith apple. We also tossed in raw arcs of mild red onion for added zip, while creamy crumbles of goat cheese are strewn over the top before serving. Red onions might not be mild enough for everyone, but I've found that soaking them in icy water for a few minutes before using takes a little edge off. Jeff and I both liked this, but thought the dressing was on the skimpy side - I would probably increase it by at least 1 1/2 times if we made this again. Not so much that it would make the salad soggy, but we thought a little extra would have helped this along. The dressing did perk up our taste buds as it was well-flavored with those added seasonings! If you're a nut-fiend, toasted walnuts or pecans would be a nice touch to finish off this lighter salad.


  1. I'm sure they will love that special treat Joe. Hope you have warmer weather soon.

  2. Both the salad and the lemon lime bars look delicious!
    Belated Happy Birthday Wishes!

  3. Nooooo why why why. This is my third totally love sweets (brownies 1st, my grammy peanut butter fudge 2nd). I haven't had these in a long time mostly because I will eat most of it.
    I will be making these this weekend.

  4. The garnish on your bars is beautiful, and the salad looks so fresh and yummy.

    Love your blog! Happy Belated Bday!

  5. Yum to both things. I love fruit in salad, esp with goat cheese. And the bars are heavenly. I want to try that baking powder trick.

  6. I was just wondering yesterday what lemon-lime bars would be like, I had never seen anyone make them! These came out lovely.

  7. You have 2 of my favorite flavors here, I love anything citrus and apples, I crazy about them!

  8. Helene - Me too... though I think we have more snow comming!

    Sue - Thanks!

    Kimmy - hee hee... sorry!

    Kerstin - Thanks!

    Laura - Me too... I'm glad I finally came around to goat cheese a few years ago!

    Alisa - And they were quite tasty too!

    Bunny - Woo!

  9. these look sooo good...
    i can´t wait to try them!
    i have tried a lot of lemon bars but none came out as good as i hoped, but i have high hopes in this recipe