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7.06.2012

Summer-Fresh Lemon Squares

Ok.  Deep breath.  I can choose to look at this situation one of two ways.


I'm going to a barbecue this weekend, and I'd like to bring a homemade dessert.

Or.

I'm going to another barbecue this weekend, and the last thing I need is another &*^$# dessert!

Phew.  Understand.  I'm at the tail end of out-of-the-norm, break-from-routine, eat-anything-and-everything-because-it's-there-and-I'm-on-vacation mode.  Can you tell how my thighs are feeling lately?

But here I am, faced with the reality that try as I might, every weekend of summer is booked with opportunities for quality time with family and friends, but an equal amount of opportunities to test my resolve.

(At this point, I maniacally laugh at resolve.)

So I'm taking matters into my own hands, and making a healthy compromise between barbecue free-for-all and barbecue starvation.

We're doing fresh lemon squares.  And we're doing it up. 

Because these are legit!  They are full of all the good things I love (except chocolate and lasagna, thankfully), like a light, golden shortbread crust, and bright and fresh lemon curd.  And they contain none of the bad things that I hate, like white flour, large amounts of butter and sugar, and the ever-slight tinge of remorse.

Let's be honest.  There are many recipes for lemon squares out there, but none too many use honey to its full potential, and none too many are this bright, this light, and this refreshing.  I'm not the first to make these, and I won't be the last, but this recipe sorta makes me feel like a genius.

Sweet Jesus, healthy lemon square-on-a-hot-day, I love you.  We're gonna be A-OK.

Lemon Squares
Adapted from Skinnytaste.com
Yields 9-18 squares, depending on how big you want 'em
Ingredients:
12 tbs + 2 tbs whole wheat flour, divided
1/3 c light brown sugar, not packed
3 tbs corn starch
2 tsp + 1 tsp grated lemon zest, divided
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt, divided
4 tbs very cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1 tbs fat-free Greek yogurt
1/2 c honey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
5 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs powdered sugar, for dusting
Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray, and line it with 2 long sheets of aluminum foil folded to fit inside the pan.  Cut the sheets long enough to hang over the sides to use as handles to lift out the baked bars before cutting into squares.  Spray the inside of the foil lined pan with baking spray.


In a food processor, combine 12 tbs of the flour, brown sugar, corn starch, 2 tsp of lemon zest, baking powder, and salt, and process until well combined.  Add the butter and yogurt, and pulse at least a dozen times to combine.



Turn the dough out into the prepared pan, and press into an even layer.  Bake until evenly browned, about 20-22 minutes.  Cool on a metal rack for at least 15-20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.


Meanwhile, prepare the filling by whisking together the remaining 2 tbs flour, remaining 1 tsp lemon zest, remaining 1/8 tsp salt, honey, and eggs in a medium bowl.  Stir in the lemon juice, and pour over the cooled crust.



Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes.  Cool completely before lifting out of the pan with the foil.  Cut into 9 squares, and dust with powdered sugar.


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