Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Freezable Lemon Bars

Pretty and delicious--always a winning combination.  So just as Cindy loves cheese more than chocolate, she will also always choose a fruit-based dessert over a chocolate dessert as well.  So of course I needed to incorporate some light and fruit flavors into the dessert table with the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and Pretzel Brownies.  These lemon bars are perfect.  They have a very different texture and composition than my previous Lemon Bars, but they are still delicious and a tasty bite of summer.  The crust is a simple graham cracker layer which is then topped with a light lemony layer.  It's not quite as thick as lemon curd, more akin to a lemon filling.  Finally, it's all topped off with a layer of whipped cream.  Sweet, tart and delicious.

When scouring lemon recipes, I found several that looked yummy, but ultimately I went with this one from Jen over at Beantown Baker simply because I could freeze them! (Plus, I've never failed with one of Jen's recipes).  Since I was trying to do as much work in advance of the shower as possible, this recipe made a lot of sense to me.  I only made one adjustment to the recipe and that was to include the zest of one lemon in the whipped cream topping.  If you've followed me for a while, you're familiar with my trials (and failures) of lemon flavor.  I figured the added lemon zest would secure the pop of lemon I wanted to achieve, and it totally worked. You could certainly leave it out, or decrease it, but I like the way the topping continues the lemon flavor from the filling.  And as far as the freezing part, I was thrilled with how they turned out.  I let them sit for the recommended time, they cut perfectly and because they were still chilled, the bars maintained their shape and the structure of the topping despite sitting on the dessert table for a little while.

Freezable Lemon Bars


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 packages of graham crackers
1/3 cup sugar
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 egg yolks
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
zest of 1 lemon
1 8 ounce tub whipped cream

In a small bowl mix graham crackers, sugar and butter until combined.  Press firmly and evenly into a 9 x 9 inch foil pan or a foil lined pan.  Note: If you use your regular pan and line it with foil, remember that the pan will be in the freezer until you serve the bars.  No need to grease the pan first.

In another small bowl, beat egg yolks.  Add condensed milk and lemon juice and continue beating on low-medium speed for one minute.

Pour lemon mixture evenly over crust.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 30 minutes or until set.  Carefully remove from oven, using two oven-mitt covered hands, and let cool completely on wire rack.

Meanwhile, add lemon zest to whipped cream and stir to distribute.

Once bars are cooled, spread whipped cream over top of bars.

Cover pan with plastic wrap and foil, then slip into a large freezer bag.  Write on the bag the serving instructions below.  Note: These bars can be frozen for up to a month.

Remove bars from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Cut into bars and serve.

Makes 16 bars.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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