The other day it hit me as I stepped outside just how close winter is. The weather was scraping the bottom of the 50s and I knew that windy frigid days were just around the corner. The doom and gloom of short winter days made me wish for something that reminds me of summer to keep me warm. That is when it hit me. I need to make something that really leaves me with a feeling of a warm Charleston summer day. There is nothing like good food to transform your mood.
So when I wrote out my grocery list that day, it was full of fresh, summertime food that would be at home on our little charcoal grill. Asparagus, meat for burgers and chicken for grilling were at the top of the list. For dessert, I wanted something equally refreshing to ring in the new season. I decided on the sour-sweet, sunny flavors of lemon bars, and then wanted to add blueberries, which I thought would add a nice tart burst of flavor. So, I had planned to do a nice grill-out for our Sunday evening dinner, and follow it with the lemon bars for dessert.
I love lemon bars – they’re so easy to make, and they have a nice, clean flavor that gives you the sweetness of dessert without the overwhelming flavor of heavier treats with chocolate, caramels or creams (not that I don’t like them!)
I accidentally left my lemon bars in the oven about 2 minutes too long. At first I was worried when I saw them, but the top layer actually got this really delicious meringue like taste (the part that is toasted and a little crusty), and below was the traditional creamy lemony goodness, with the addition of sunny, fresh blueberries.
I definitely recommend trying them – they’re delicious – even in the dead of winter.
- 1 c. butter @ room temperature
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/3 c. lemon juice
- 4 tbsp. flour
- 3 tsp. lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp. rosewater
- 1 c. blueberries
- preheat oven or toaster oven to 325
- combine butter, 2 c. flour, salt and powdered sugar in a stand mixer
- press dough into greased 13x9x2 pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown
- while crust is baking, beat eggs in a large bowl, and add all other ingredients except blueberries
- stir until thoroughly combined, then gently fold in blueberries
- remove crust from oven, and pour lemon mixture on top of crust
- return to oven and back for another 25-30 minutes, until mixture is “set” (2 minutes or so more if that meringue topping appeals to you)
- cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar
While they won’t do anything to take the chill out of the air, having something that reminds me of warmer days helps to remind me that this weather is only temporary. That is the great thing about food. Whether it is a smell or a taste, it can take you to a different time or place and bring back wonderful memories and feelings that make today seem not so bad. For me, lemon bars are what do the trick, hopefully they can help you too.