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Notions & Notations of a Novice Cook: Making Cream Cheese Lemon Squares

peegaw:

Or not, I suppose, since disaster already struck in this post. I’m actually not a big fan of the lemon squares (or lemon bars) since I think they’re too sweet, but seeing as a lot of people suggested it I thought I might as well make a post for it. And so I set out to finding a recipe and chanced upon one by Bree of Baked Bree.

I fell in love with the simple recipe and the idea of adding baking powder to the filling just before baking so that it creates a beautiful, sort of fenestrated crust on top.

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Pretty isn’t it? 

But since life as we know it is not always predictable, unexpected guests came  to the house while I was in the middle of baking my own tray of lemon squares. Long story short, I sort of forgot they were in the oven and took them out looking like this:

image

…Yeah. I don’t think you can even call this a lemon square any more, but, in attempt to resurrect the fallen citrusy squares, I whipped up a cream cheese frosting and used it to cover up the not so pretty-bits and finally topped it with slices of candied lemons. The result? Well, let’s just say it was pretty heavenly.

image

CREAM CHEESE LEMON SQUARES:

CRUST:

[ 2 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup confectioners’ sugar + a pinch of salt + 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature if you’re using a food processor, cold if you’re using your hands ]

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. 

In a food processor, put the dry ingredients in the bowl and pulse.  Add the butter and pulse until it turns into the size of peas.  

Alternatively, if you’re using the old school method of making pie crust i.e. your hands, cut the cold butter into little squares to make them easier to work with. Put the dry ingredients inside a bowl and rub the butter into the flour.

image

Work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 mins before using.

image

Press the crust into the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 20 minutes.

image

Let the crust cool a bit and start on the filling.

image

FILLING:

[ 4 eggs + 2 cups of sugar + 4 tablespoons lemon juice + 4 tablespoons flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder ] OPTIONAL: 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.

Put all of the filling ingredients except the baking powder into the bowl of the food processor or a blender and process until smooth. 

Right before you are ready to pour it over the crust, add the baking powder.  Give it one more whirl and you can pour it in.  Pour it gently on top of the crust or the crust can break.

Bake the lemon bars for another 25 minutes or until the lemon filling is set.

Now, if your lemon squares came out in tippy-top shape, you can go ahead and cut into squares and share with a friend. 

However, if yours came out a little more like mine did, I’m afraid there’s a few more things in the to-do list to rectify it, and that includes making some:

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

[ 4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature + 1/3 cup icing sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1/2 teaspoon lime juice ]

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and lime juice, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Note: I intentionally made this not too sweet in order to cut through the sweetness of the lemon squares themselves. Feel free to add more sugar to your taste.

Optional: CANDIED LEMON SLICES:

1 lemon or 3 limes, sliced thinly + 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup water 

**You can alter the amount of sugar and water according to the amount of citrus you want to candy, just keep the ratio of water: sugar as 1:1

In a pan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.

Add the lemon or lime slices and leave it until the water has reduced and starts to caramelize.

Take the slices out and drain on paper towels.

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ASSEMBLY:

Take your slab of lemony square goodness and slather with the cream cheese frosting. Make sure you spread it evenly, wouldn’t want someone to get more share of frosting now, do we?

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And then, for the [optional] Pièce de résistance, top it with the candied lemon slices.

image

image

And now you may proceed to cut into squares and share with a friend.

image

CREAM CHEESE LEMON SQUARES:

CRUST:

2 cups all purpose flour + 1 cup confectioners’ sugar + a pinch of salt + 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature if you’re using a food processor, cold if you’re using your hands ]

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. 
  2. In a food processor, put the dry ingredients in the bowl and pulse.  Add the butter and pulse until it turns into the size of peas.  
  3. Alternatively, if you’re using the old school method of making pie crust i.e. your hands, cut the cold butter into little squares to make them easier to work with. Put the dry ingredients inside a bowl and rub the butter into the flour.
  4. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. Form the dough into a disk and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 mins before using.
  5. Press the crust into the bottom of the pan.  Bake the crust for 20 minutes.
  6. Let the crust cool a bit and start on the filling.

FILLING:

4 eggs + 2 cups of sugar + 4 tablespoons lemon juice + 4 tablespoons flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder ] OPTIONAL: 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract.

  1. Put all of the filling ingredients except the baking soda in the bowl of the food processor or a blender and process until smooth. 
  2. Right before you are ready to pour it over the crust, add the baking powder.  Give it one more whirl and you can pour it in.  Pour it gently on top of the crust or the crust can break.
  3. Bake the lemon bars for another 25 minutes or until the lemon filling is set.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

4 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature + 1/3 cup icing sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  + 1/2 teaspoon lime juice ]

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Mix in the vanilla and lime juice, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Note: I intentionally made this not too sweet in order to cut through the sweetness of the lemon squares themselves. Feel free to add more sugar to your taste.

Optional: CANDIED LEMON SLICES:

1 lemon or 3 limes, sliced thinly + 1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup water 

**You can alter the amount of sugar and water according to the amount of citrus you want to candy, just keep the ratio of water: sugar as 1:1

  1. In a pan, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil.
  2. Add the lemon or lime slices and leave it until the water has reduced and starts to caramelize.
  3. Take the slices out and drain on paper towels.

ASSEMBLY:

  1. Slather on the cream cheese frosting. Make sure you spread it evenly.
  2. Top it with the candied lemon slices.
  3. Cut into squares and share with a friend.

image

Enjoy!

veganfeast:

Green apple, spinach, mint, lime and ginger. by thebakingbird on Flickr.
yum
seadoll:

banccc

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Sage Vaughn.

Irish Girl, 2009. Oil on canvas, 152.4 x 122.1 cm.

Slick City, 2009. Mixed media on linen, 117 x 81.3 cm.

victoriousvocabulary:

HUMONGOUS

[adjective]

extraordinarily large.

[Daniel Danger]

lohrien:

Illustrations by 瑠珂

marysbitofnonsense:

podarok for Ivan by ~t-a-t-k-a

anitaleocadia:

By STiX2000

1 - The Construct

2 - untitled 5

(Source: stix2000.deviantart.com)

enoqi:

The path's divide; an accumulation of reminiscent downfalls. 

(Source: enoqi, via enoqi-deactivated20140520)

kidshannon:

James and the Giant Peach by Odessa Sawyer

fer1972:

Illustration by Peter de Sève for Star Wars Visions

funambulist by ~25kartinok

funambulist by ~25kartinok

(Source: fantasyscapes)

napaillustrations:

RIIKKA SORMUNEN HAS WON IMAGE MAGAZINE’S ILLUSTRATION COMPETITION
Finnish magazine “Image” organized a competition for it’s readers to vote for the best illustration from 10 nominees. The winner was announced this week: we are so happy to tell that Riikka Sormunen’s beautiful illustration won the competition with one fifth of all votes! Well done Riikka!

napaillustrations:

RIIKKA SORMUNEN HAS WON IMAGE MAGAZINE’S ILLUSTRATION COMPETITION

Finnish magazine “Image” organized a competition for it’s readers to vote for the best illustration from 10 nominees. The winner was announced this week: we are so happy to tell that Riikka Sormunen’s beautiful illustration won the competition with one fifth of all votes! Well done Riikka!

curiousnowhere:

this gal is so damn talented.
Heaven Sent by Mia Taninaka

curiousnowhere:

this gal is so damn talented.

Heaven Sent by Mia Taninaka

runmonsterun:

ONe of like ten things I have to get done by the week after next sob… feels good to finish something though *u*

runmonsterun:

ONe of like ten things I have to get done by the week after next sob… feels good to finish something though *u*