For me, cooking is one of the most enjoyable activities. I love whipping up delicious concoctions in my kitchen. After a long day or week at work, it's a great way to get my mind off things (and my eyes off the computer screen.) To a lot of people, cooking is work and there will always be people who see my time in the kitchen as work - but for me, it's a hobby and one I enjoy and would never willingly give up. Might sound strange to many people - probably not my readers since most of you are foodies like me.
I guess it comes down to the saying, "to each his own". I know people who love running marathons. I don't get it. All that time and training - and all those miles... I'm all for exercising to stay healthy, just like I'm sure marathon runners are all for food to stay nourished, but marathons are to me what The French Laundry cookbook must be to others.
Anyway, I'm rambling. It's my love of cooking that always leads me to seek out new recipes and I was pretty psyched to find this one for lemon bars. In my little kitchen in Fanwood, I was able to bake up a fresh batch of sunshine. That's exactly what each of these sweet, tart bars tastes like: pure sunshine. When was the last time your hobby let you create sunshine?
This recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook - I followed it exactly (surprising, I know!). I did have to bake mine a bit longer but I think that's just because my oven has a mind of it's own.
from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
For the crust:
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 3 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
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. 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 a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.