The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Friday, April 15, 2016

Pucker-Up Lemon Crumb Bars

I scrolled through my dessert board on Pinterest, reading the names of desserts aloud to Jake, who was the chooser of the dessert for Easter Sunday.  No was his continuous response until this one.

Pucker-Up Lemon Crumb Bars.

I love lemony things--lemonade, lemon cheesecake, lemon in water, lemon drop martinis; then there's lemon body wash, lemon shampoo...  The smell is amazing and makes me feel clean and spring-y, and the taste of lemons--whoa.  These lemon bars fit my palate to a tee!

I modified the original recipe, adapting it to the way I like it. I cut the amount of flour and oats because I found the topping to be dry--much of it fell all over our plates when I cut and served the bars.  I also used a combination of freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour and high quality white flour, as I usually do when baking (using all whole wheat tends to result in a more dense product).

Since I didn't take any other pictures (we were all too eager to dig in!), here's the recipe.  I will be adding more pictures soon, since I'll be making this dessert tomorrow for Danny's and Dad's birthday party in a few days!

Pucker-Up Lemon Crumb Bars

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup freshly ground whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup high quality white flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cane juice crystals (or regular sugar)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 sticks cold butter, sliced up

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk!)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I did this!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter/grease a 9x13 pan. Line with parchment paper, and butter the paper. This is for easier removal, but isn't necessary.

In a stand mixer, add oats, flours, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix briefly until combined. Add butter and mix until crumbly. Press half of this crumb mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Set the other half aside.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or with a hand-held mixer in a medium/large bowl), beat cream cheese on medium/high speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well between each addition. Scrape sides of bowl as needed. Add vanilla and lemon zest, mix until combined.

While mixing on medium speed, slowly pour in sweetened condensed milk. Beat for three minutes. Turn mixer to low and add lemon juice. Mix until well combined, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Pour filling into crust and top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until topping is a light golden color.

Remove from oven and let pan cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cold. Cut into bars and serve with strawberries and freshly whipped cream (my favorites!) or serve plain, since they are amazing.

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