Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cookie Carnival: Toasted Almond Lemon Bars

I think this is the fastest I have ever completed a Cookie Carnival! The recipe was emailed to us 2 days ago and I was stoked! I have been staring at the lemons in my fruit bowl for the last week or so and kept thinking, "Hey... I should make lemon bars!"

Then came the Cookie Carnival e-mail. Our first ever guest host, Holly of Phe-MOM-enon, chose Toasted Almond Lemon Bars. I finally had the push to get up and make some lemon bars!

What makes these lemon bars stand out from others is the ground almonds in the crust. Also, there is almond extract in the filling. I love that almond flavor. YUM! These bars are fantastic and I am looking forward to sharing them with friends later today.

Thanks, Holly, for a great Carnival! :)

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

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.


Christy said...

Mmmm-delicious! Lemon bars are such a nice spring treat! Yours look wonderful.

Rachelle @ "Mommy? I'm Hungry!" said...

Wow, that was fast! They look great! Are they lemony? :)

teresa said...

Mmmm, these look great. I love the idea of using almonds in the crust, it probably adds so much great flavor!

Bunny said...

I love the flavor of lemon, these really look good Cristine, they wouldn't have lasted long at my house!

HoneyB said...

Looks yummy! Sounds like something I would probably love. Too much!

SUGAR B said...

All right, sweetie, need to get back on the Cookie Carnival band wagon and make these. I wasn't too thrilled about the last couple of cookie recipes.

Yours looks awesome. :)

Katy said...

Yummmm. lemon! Looks irresistible!

The McBride Family said...

Umm are you judging me that I ate FIVE of these on Saturday!!! :)

PheMom said...

They really look great! I'm so glad you liked them! Thanks for making them and joining in the fun this month!

Pamela said...

Wow! I am so impressed that you did them already! Great job. That bar looks wonderful and I hope everyone enjoyed them!

J.Danger said...

mmmm.. I have not had a lemon bar in ages! Sound so good!

SiHaN said...

I jumped at this recipe too! in fact I've been on hiatus the last couple of times until this recipe popped out. I just posted mine up as well. Unfortunately my lemon filling turned out a bit jelly like which was pretty strange. haha. Still enjoyable though...

Tami said...

These look absolutely delicious! A perfect dessert on a warm spring day. I'm keeping the recipe to make later on. April seemed to fly by since we were packing to move.

kate said...

thanks for participating, cristine!

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