Friday, August 7, 2009

Lemon Crunch Squares

I recently picked up a new cookbook. Now I probably need a new cookbook like I need a hole in my head, but the picture on the cover made it impossible to pass up. I looked through the book and it had quite a few interesting recipes so I figured why not? There’s always room for one more book on the bookshelf.

I let my husband pick the first recipe to make, and he picked the lemon crunch squares, which are a variation of a lemon bar. The most unusual aspect of these cookies is that the base of the cookie is made with crushed saltines. I’ve used all sorts of cookies and crackers to make bases before, but never saltines. I wasn’t sure if it would be salty, or how exactly that would translate to the overall flavor.

You make a crumb base with the saltines, butter, sugar, and coconut. Press most of that in the pan and reserve some for the topping. The lemon filling is egg and sugar, as well as lemon juice and lemon zest. When I was making this it smelled super lemony, in the final cookie I don’t think that the lemon is pronounced as I would like it to be. As far as the base made with the saltines, I think that it has a nice light flavor. It does have just the slightest bit of crunch and it isn’t salty at all. I would like a stronger lemon flavor; these don’t have the nice tang that I expect a lemon bar to have.

The plate that I used in the photos is also new. A couple of weeks ago my husband and I traveled to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. It’s honestly not that far from home, but taking the ferry always makes it feel like you are going to a destination. While we were there we visited the studio of Paula West Pottery . I picked up this lovely little plate since I thought it would add some nice color to my photos. There were some beautiful pieces in the showroom. I especially liked the rice bowls that she had there. The studio is still working on having online sales, so I’ll be looking forward to that when it happens.

1-1/3 cups crushed soda crackers

¾ cup butter, softened

¾ cup flour

½ cup sugar

½ cup coconut

1 teaspoon baking powder


3 eggs

1 cup sugar

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

¼ cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup of the crumbs for the topping. Press the remaining crumbs firmly into an ungreased 9 inch square pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.

To make the filling, beat the eggs in a medium saucepan. Add the sugar, lemon juice and zest, and the butter. Heat and stir on medium until thickened. Spread evenly over the baked crumb layer. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let stand in pan on a wire rack until cool, then cut into bars.

Recipe from Company’s Coming: Most Loved Treats by Jean Pare’

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