CHEW THIS! 1 Lemon, Lemon Bars

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday December 19th 2020 edition. By: Blaise Doubman. This column also appeared in “The Shelbyville News”.

Lemon Bars, made from 1 lemon
Blaise Doubman

It goes without saying how much my family and I love The Cake Bake Shop in Indianapolis. The owner, Gwendolyn Rogers and I, have become friends over the years and it amazes me to continuously watch her grow and expand her business. She is multitalented to say the least. My Aunt Myra and my cousin Jacqueline made reservations for my family and I at the Carmel location on the second Sunday of this month and we went and had such a good time! The Cake Bake Shop is following all safety precautions and we all felt very safe there. The menu was slightly different, as well as their dessert menu because it changes seasonally. Additions to the menu were delicious seasonal soups, gingerbread cake, winter mint macaroons and hot chocolate ice cream. I went with their chicken velvet soup, which I highly recommend for those who used to love the Indiana department store chain version, and a 12-layer club sandwich. Fabulous! For dessert though, I opted for something different. Their famous lemon bars! Their lemon bars are, of course, made from scratch and each batch, are you ready for this, contain at least 40 lemons! Yes, 40 lemons! They also just recently became available online through Williams-Sonoma to purchase for direct home delivery. I mean, how bad could that be?

Sitting there, enjoying my lemon bar, I got to wondering, could you make lemon bars using just 1 single lemon? I know there are recipes out there that call for literally a whole lemon, ground up, seeds, pulp and all, but I was not interested in a recipe that called for specialized grinding equipment. Who would have the equipment or find the time? I mentioned my idea to my family, and they thought it would be a fun experiment and if I succeeded, I could write about it here in my column and share it with all of you! Well, after a couple of attempts, guess what? The 1 lemon, lemon bars were born, and they are absolutely delicious! Some recipes for lemon bars contain an actual sugar or shortbread cookie as the crust but I sometimes find that too thick and somehow taking away from the overall lemon bar filling. The filling on these bars really shine through with their flavor and all you need to make them is 1 single lemon!

1 Lemon, Lemon Bars

These can be made in advance, wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Feel free to add a splash of pure vanilla extract to your lemon bar batter for an extra hint of flavor that is deep and rich.

1 cup white all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the white all-purpose flour, soft unsalted butter and powdered sugar. Press this mixture into the prepared pan, evenly and with clean dry hands.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 22 minutes.

While the crust is baking, combine the large eggs, white granulated sugar, freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk until bubbles form.

Once the crust has baked, remove and pour on the lemon mixture.

Carefully place back into the oven and bake 32 minutes. Remove and cool completely at room temperature before sprinkling with powdered sugar, cutting and serving.

Ask and Answer: I got several encouraging emails from people pertaining to my last column for “Tofu Fries” for The Shelbyville News! It was an unexpected surprise to hear from so many of you and I am happy to report there are several people, with open minds, who decided to try them and loved them! Willy, a reader who wrote in, had a good sense of humor about the fries and wrote to me, wondering if the fries could instead be made with potatoes. Ha! No.

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