Laying off the cream

Laying off the cream

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My apologies going out to the TWDers.. the Banana Cream Pie was a no show on the table this week due to other baking 'must-do's' and an otherwise crazy work schedule. (as i type this entry, my eyelids enter a viscous cycle of drooping followed by violent twitching upwards).

Instead, here's the Toasted Lemon Almond Bars for this month's cookie carnival guest hosted by Holly of Phe.mom.enon .

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With a recipe boosted by a book with a hell of a reputation (in my opinion at least since I've wanted to own The Sweet Melissa Baking Book for the longest time...), I was all ready to take on the challenge after having been on a rather long and embarrasing hiatus from the event.

The comeback recipe... a gorgeous toasted almond lemon bar featuring lemon curd on a shortbread crust. I chose to bake mine in a tart shell as I just had to make sure that every piece had an additional crust to it! No biasness going on over here...

The end result wasn't one that was all favourable with me. The lemon curd turned out to be just a little chewy...almost like a kueh. *strange...* The shortcrust base though... was a God-sent with the added frangrance of almonds pushing the entire dessert just over the border of satisfactory.

A chilled slice for a sinful supper anyone?

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Toasted Almond Lemon Bars
From The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy
Makes 1 dozen bars


"Everyone loves lemon bars. I make mine extra special by adding toasted almonds to the shortbread crust."

For the Crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds, lightly toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt
20 Tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

For the Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 7 lemons)
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for sprinkling

To Toast the Almonds:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until lightly golden and you can smell them. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Before You Start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 - inch pan with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Make a parchment "sling" by cutting two pieces of parchment paper, measuring 16 1/2 inches long by 12 inches wide (you can also use aluminum foil). Place one piece across the length, and the other across the width of the pan, with the excess hanging over the edges. You will use this sling later to lift the finished bar from the pan. Spray the sling with the cooking spray.

To Make the Crust:
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, almonds, and salt to combine. Add the cold butter in pieces and pulse until the dough comes together in a ball.

2. Turn the dough out into the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom and 1 1/4 inches up the sides. (This crust, once it is baked, needs to act as a liner in which to pour the liquidy lemon filling. So be sure to do a good job of pressing the dough up the sides - no cracks!). Cover the dough with a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights ( you can use dried beans or uncooked rice as pie weights as well). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden. Carefully remove the pie weights and the liner and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the whole crust is golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

To Make the Filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the almond extract and flour, and whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice, and whisk to combine.

To Complete the Bars:
1. Pour the lemon filling into the prepared crust. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is firm and lightly golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

2. When cool use the parchment sling to lift the entire bar from the pan and onto a cutting board. Slice into twelve 3 x 3 1/2 - inch bars. Remove from the pan and, using a small sifter, dust with the confectioners' sugar.

The bars keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Do not unwrap before defrosting. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.

19 comments:

April said...

I think that looks just as good as the Banana Cream Pie. Almonds always have the best scent too. Cheers!

pinkstripes said...

Those look gorgeous and sound delicious. I love lemon bars and the addition of toasted almond is fantastic.

Jules Someone said...

Hmmmm. Maybe I'll use a different lemon curd recipe.... Yours looks lovely!

SiHaN said...

April: Guess these two are really world's apart. But guess in terms of satisfying my sugary craves.. they both hit homerun!

Pinkstripes: these are indeed awesome! perhaps you could try out the recipe and use a different lemon curd recipe instead.

Jules someone: Thanks dear. and yes please use a different lemon curd recipe. If not, I would advise reducing the amount of flour in it.

Cristine said...

Sorry the filling didn't work so well for you. I love how you made it in a tart pan, though! The crust was awesome!

Jessica said...

Hmmm, I'm sorry that the curd turned chewy, that doesn't sound that great at all. But the crust sounds fantastic and I'm glad that you liked it. They look absolutely beautiful.

Flourchild said...

Looks great to me, I love lemon. It's always good to see what ever you bake!

Jacque said...

I'm looking forward to making this. Yours looks good, sorry about the chewy filling.

Cathy said...

"Just over the border of satisfactory" -- well, that's a good starting point, I guess! I think this looks delicious; maybe you'll love it with a different lemon curd!

Sabrina said...

Forget the banana cream pie! Those look even better! I love Lemon anything!

PheMom said...

I love that you did them in the tart pan! Sad to hear about the lemon curd though. Your slices still look fantastic! Thanks for joining in the fun!

Teanna said...

Gorgeous lemon bars! Sorry you weren't totally crazy about it, but they look great!

TeaLady said...

Lemon instead of bananas. Works for me. Those look incredible.

Peggy said...

I opted out on this one too. But I love anything lemon so these get a star from me. Great job!

Ivette said...

Your pie looks great and your pics look amazingly cool... I'm glad you had a chance to bake for us this week :)

Gigi said...

drool! i love her book! your almond lemon tart is beautiful!

Amanda said...

That looks amazing!

Tracey said...

Oh wow, those look amazing! Great flavor combo.

kate said...

hey you're back! yay!