Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day brings 2 recipes - Lemon Bars and Peanut Butter Bars


My Mom loves lemon bars...but my brother Matt - not so much. So for Mother's Day, when Mom requested lemon bars, I decided to make 2 desserts - and added the Peanut Butter Bars for Matt.

I have been making different variations of lemon bars for a few years for Mom. However, they weren't exactly right...until I tried Ina Garten's recipe. I modified it a little bit from her original recipe, but it's the best one I have made. Now, I have to warn you, it is VERY lemony. And, although it looks to have a lot of sugar in it, it doesn't taste too sweet.

The Peanut Butter Bars I have been working on for a while. The main reason I developed them is as a vehicle for my peanut butter frosting. I love that stuff. Also, a few weeks ago, I got these Mini Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Trader Joe's, and ever since then I have been dying to use them on something. Originally, I was going to add them to oatmeal cookies, but they are pretty soft at room temperature, and I was afraid they would melt. However, sprinkled on the peanut butter bars, they were perfect!

Happy Mother's Day everyone out there!

Lemon Bars (Adapted from Barefoot Contessa)

Crust:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/4 t. salt

Filling:
5 room temperature eggs
1 egg yolk
3 cups sugar
Zest of 4-6 lemons
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter and sugar together for a crust until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and mix together until just incorporated. Pat into a 13x9x2 pan, building up a small thin edge on all sides. Bake for 15 minutes until very very light brown.

For the filling, whisk all ingredients together. Pour over crust and bake 30-35 minutes until filling is set and doesn't jiggle. Cool until completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into small pieces.

Peanut Butter Bars

1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter (I use creamy)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2 eggs

Frosting

2/3 c. butter
1/2 c. peanut butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 t. vanilla

For the cookie: Preheat oven to 350. Cream the butter, both sugars, and the peanut butter together until light and fluffy. Slowly incorporate the eggs, milk, and vanilla until well mixed. Add the flour and baking powder until well incorporated. Batter should be smooth. Pour into a greased 13x9x2 pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. If you want thinner bars, you can use a jelly roll pan and bake for 15-20 minutes.

For the frosting:

Combine all the ingredients and whip until light, about 4 minutes. Adjust cream if consistency is too thick. Spread over cooled cookies and cut into medium sized squares.

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