ELKO — When the summer heat wave hits, when the clothes peel off like citrus rinds and when we look at each other with that mad, bloodthirsty look that only extreme heat can bring on, one sweet treat soothes our collective rage: lemon bars.
My old roommate first introduced me to lemon bars when I was living in Reno.
I asked her, time and time again, to make them until finally I convinced her to show me how. Her copy of the family recipe book was conveniently in our kitchen and when I moved out to Elko to join the Free Press, she was kind enough to take pictures of the recipe and send them to me.
I’ve been making them ever since, except the last time I tried to make them I realized the house I had moved to lacked a cheese grater.
It did have a food processor.
And so, it came to pass, my own twist on my roomie’s lemon bar recipe was born.
The twist of lemon is to put a whole lemon, deseeded, into the food processor or blender. If you want to be a stick in the mud, you can do it the original way, with finely grated rind.
I’ve changed the original recipe, but not just by pulverizing a lemon: I substitute whole wheat flour for white flour because both the extra flavor it adds (lightly nutty) and the minuscule added health benefits. Plus, I only keep one kind of flour in my pantry. One could change the flour to bleached all-purpose but I will neither condemn nor condone.
The other big change I make is to downgrade the amount of (granulated) sugar from 2 cups to 1 1/2 cups.
The amount of dough that a cup of butter (2 bars) makes, depending on how thick one makes the crust, is usually enough for at least two batches of lemon bars.
Remember, if you’re putting the lemon into the food processor, deseed it first. I suggest cutting the lemon into 1/4 to 1/8 inch slices to both deseed and to speed the chopping process.
And so, I give you, Lee Ann’s Lemon Bars with a Wee Twist.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 1/4 cups sifted whole wheat flour divided into 2 cups and 1/4 cup
4 eggs, well beaten
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 lemon, very finely chopped in a food processor/blender or 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
1. Cream butter, powdered sugar and salt. Stir in 2 cups flour until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan and bake at 325 degrees F for 25 minutes. I suggest using parchment paper to line the pan.
2. Combine the lemon juice and sugar. Mix in the beaten eggs. Mix in the last 1/4 cup flour and food-processed lemon or 2 teaspoons lemon rind.
3. Take the crust out of the oven after 25 minutes and pour the filling onto the hot crust and put back in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, possibly overnight.
4. Optional: Sprinkle the top of the lemon bars lightly with powdered sugar.
5. Cut into bars. They can be served at room temperature or refrigerated.