I have written about lemon bars before – and have baked lemon bars since childhood. My mom had a recipe, and I just followed it. As I have written before, it was one of the easiest things one could bake and have it come out impressively. People loved them. But after I had a mishap baking them in Iceland (simply never was able to make them turn out right again), these fell off the list of popular baked goods. I have made them once or twice since living in Sweden but never really felt the happiness and ease about them that I once felt. That original mom-approved recipe had served me well but I recently decided that it had its day. I recognized that the recipe, though nice, just did not produce enough lemony gooey goodness. The lemon was not thick enough to be really … luscious. It sort of seeped into the shortbread crust, and while it still had a nice result, it was not like the lemon curd-ish/lemon meringue pie-like filling one might dream of when grabbing a slab of lemon bar.
ooey gooey lemon raspberry bars
I also wanted to incorporate a bit of fresh raspberry to please the palate of a raspberry-loving colleague. With the new recipe led to nothing but overflowing, glowing praise. “This tastes just like heaven”. New recipe, fresh start.
lemon raspberry bars – just like heaven
Lemon raspberry bar recipe Crust
Preheat oven to 175C
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Mix all ingredients and press evenly into a rectangular (approximately 9×13 glass pan). Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Cool about 30 minutes before adding the topping and baking again.
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup fresh raspberries
Mix sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice in a saucepan and whisk together. Add raspberries. Cook all over medium heat and whisk constantly until the puree becomes thicker and raspberries start to break down. Strain the mixture and let the strained mix cool. Set aside.
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup flour
Whisk eggs, sugar, zest and flour together. Gradually add in the lemon juice. Whisk until just combined. Pour over the warm crust. Once settled, add raspberry puree by the tablespoon around the top of the lemon. Swirl the raspberry by using a toothpick along the surface to create swirl. Move pan carefully to oven. Bake 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and then cut into squares.
The other day I was doing some “prep cooking” – you know, preparing the stuff that could be done in advance before having a guest in town. And one of the things was this sauce.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoon curry
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
Heat oil on medium, add onions and saute until lightly golden (about 20 minutes). Add garlic and all the spices. Stir for about a minute. Cool mixture until warm. While mix is cooling, mix the tomatoes and yogurt together and puree until almost smooth. Add the onion-garlic-spice mixture, and again puree until almost smooth.
At this point, the sauce can now be refrigerated for a day or two before using. (This helps develop the flavors.) I left it in the fridge for two days and used it up today. And here’s how to do it…
When ready to prepare…
You can actually use chicken or prawns here. Normally I use prawns, but the guest was not into shellfish and seafood, so I went for chicken.
I cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, cooked them in a separate pan and then transferred them to the pan I prepared for the rest of the process. If using prawns, which cook faster, you can cook them in the same pan as the rest of the process.
Rest of the process:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Prepared prawns (or cooked chicken)
Half a can coconut milk (about 7 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add the prawns to cook (about 2 minutes). Or add the chicken you have previously cooked. Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, green onion, lemon juice.
Chicken + coconut milk, lemon + green onions before adding masala
Then add the prepared masala sauce described above. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes more.
Chicken masala – final product
Serve with rice (which I like to make with caramelized onions, but that’s just me!).
One of the simplest things I have ever made. Lemon cream is literally a can of condensed milk mixed with lemon juice and lemon zest… and that gets sandwiched between an insanely simple bar-cookie crust. I would argue that the simplicity is the reason a lot of almost-non-bakers opt for bar cookies (to me they just seem like something a(n) (American) Midwestern soccer mom might make. Not sure why bar cookies feel Midwestern to me. They just do. On occasion, though, they join the rest of my repertoire.
Lemon cream oat bars
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
Preheat oven to 175C. Mix and press half the mixture into an 8-inch by 11-inch greased pan.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
Mix well. Spread onto bottom layer of crust.
Top the filling with the remaining crust until fully covered.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool. Once cool, refrigerate.