June 24, 2013

Lavender Lemon Bars

I don't really subscribe to the idea that desserts have their seasons. I will happily eat gingerbread in the summer and ice cream in the winter. Every once in a while though I make something that just feels right for a particular moment in the year. These lemon bars epitomize a summer dessert for me. The lemon is crisp and refreshing, while the lavender adds a depth of flavor to set it apart. The lavender is in the crust and sprinkled on top so that it won't detract from the lemon, only enhance it.

 I served these at a book club event as well as a backyard barbecue and they were equally at home at both. Summer calls for recipes that can do double duty, don't you think?  already brainstorming different ways to use these two flavors together again. Lemonade? Lemon cake? Lemon drop martini's sweetened with a lavender simple syrup? You'll probably be seeing more of this combination this summer!

Lavender Lemon Bars
adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson


2 sticks softened unsalted butter
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 c flour
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon dried lavender

4 eggs
1 1/2 c sugar
6 tbsp flour
juice of 3 lemons (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp lemon zest

powdered sugar
dried lavender

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep 9x13 inch pan by spraying with non-stick spray or coating in butter.

For the crust:
Mix together butter and sugars in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Within a few minutes the mix should be light in color and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the flour, salt and lavender. Mix until just combined and then finish mixing using a spatula. Pour into pan and push the dough into the bottom using your fingers to create an even crust. Beware of any uneven sections because those might show through the filling. Bake crust for 20 minutes until it browns slightly.

For the filling:
Whisk eggs and sugar together until light in color. Add in the rest of the filling ingredients and whisk until completely combined.

Take the crust out of the oven and pour in filling mixture right away. Pop it back into the oven for another 25 minutes (check at 20 if you have a hot oven, but mine needed the full 25). It should be slightly brown around the edges no longer wobbly in the center.

Cool in pan. Cut into slices and sprinkle with powered sugar and dried lavender. Store in airtight container in the fridge.

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