The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
The Perfect Easy Summer Dessert
I am always looking for new and different recipes. I am also always researching and keeping my eye out for recipes that take a quick shortcut that I can share with some of my more, inexperienced, readers. I also create my recipes based aroundnot just the flavor or the presentation of the finished dish but also the taste. This recipe has all of those factors. It is quick and easy to make, with the crust made from a tube of store bought sugar cookie dough and the filling does not require any ingredients that your pantry does not already have. This recipe just seems to blow people away when they first learn that the crust is made simply using a store bought refrigerated sugar cookie log of dough. A person would never know!
I first had the idea for this crust when a friend of mine gave me a recipe for a “press in pie crust” many years ago. I have talked about it here several times and the actual recipe for the pie crust is on my website and in both of my cookbooks. I figured, if you could have a press in pie crust and make things super easy with no rolling of the pin or flour from ceiling to floor, why not take that same concept and work it into a crust, or base, for dessert bars? I am so glad that I tried it because this sugar cookie base is fabulous and really pairs well with the lemon bar filling. You will need to make these in advance and chill them, for optimal flavor.
Sugar Cookie Crust Lemon Bars
1 roll Pillsbury sugar cookie dough
4 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.
Break up the sugar cookie dough with floured hands and sprinkle evenly into the prepared pan. Again with floured hands, press down and pat evenly to create a crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 24 minutes.
While the crust is baking combine the beaten eggs, white granulated sugar, white all-purpose flour, melted unsalted butter, fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice. Whisk until combined and frothy.
Pour over the hot crust and place back into the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool until room temperature. Wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator and lift bars out of the pan using the foil overhanging handles.
Sprinkle evenly with powdered sugar.
Cut, serve and store chilled.
Ask and Answer: I have received a couple of questions about how to get the “cracked” look on the top of a chocolate chip cookie. The answer is, more times than not, that cookie has solid vegetable shortening in it. The shortening mixed with the heat of the oven and the steam coming out from the cookie, gives the look of the cracks. The same goes for not only a chocolate chip cookie but also for a peanut butter cookie and a large variety of others.