Lemon/citrus bars revamp


I love lemon desserts, so I recently tried the Lemon Squares recipe here. Based on the comments for the recipe, I doubled the lemon juice (fresh) and added some lemon zest to the filling.

Mixed reviews with it. The husband thought they were way too sweet, and I'd have to agree. I also though the overall bar was too thin - not enough shortbread crust, not enough filling. However - it was good enough that I feel it's worth reworking to fit our tastes.

So - family bbq this weekend so I had another go with them. Originally I intended to use all key lime juice but was out of luck - didn't have it at the grocery store. I ended up getting 3 limes and figured I'd make up the balance of the needed juice with a bag of fresh lemons I had at home.

I used a 13x9 pan and lined with foil (sprayed well with pam) so the bars could easily be removed - good choice.

For the crust:

2 sticks of unsalted butter
2 cups KA AP flour
pinch salt
1/2 cup 10x sugar
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon

Ran it through the food processor until it resembled sand, and pressed it into the foil lined pan. I baked at 350 for about 25 minutes until lightly browned and the center of the shortbread was set to the touch.

Basically, this is double the original recipe with a pinch of salt and the zests to give it more flavor. With the larger pan and the double recipe, the resulting crust was thicker than the original recipe. I also baked it slightly longer to give it more crispness.

Overall, I was very satisfied with changes to the crust, but I'll have to scale it down to make an 8x8 or 9x9, which is more often the size dessert I make. I think probably 1.5 times the original will do the trick.

The filling in the original was overly sweet and kind of skimpy. So, reworked, here's what I used:

6 large eggs
2 pinches salt
6 Tablespoons AP flour
zest of 2 limes
zest of 1 lemon
6 oz fresh lime and lemon juice (I zest on a microplane FYI)
2 1/3 cups sugar

So the limes I ended up with were like limes often are - on the drier side and not a whole lot of juice. Loads of flavor in the zest, so I just made sure to use all of it. Overall there was maybe one ounce of fresh lime juice from the 3 limes. I made up the difference with some rather juicy lemons that I had.

Anyway - just toss everything into the food processor (or beat with a hand whisk) and pulse a couple times until it all comes together. Pour over the hot shortbread crust and bake until the filling is set in the middle. That took about 35 minutes for me with the extra volume/juice.

From the original - I was looking to triple the amount of filling, but stay with the same juice (doubled from original needed quantities). I also reduced the amount of sugar.

I chilled the whole pan thoroughly - it was very easy to just pop all of them out, peel off the foil, and cut the bars up on a cutting board. I'd say that's about a must if you want nice, neat bars.

So.....the filling was still too sweet (not as pop your eye sockets sweet as it was before), but I was much happier with the filling-to-shortbread ratio and the overall thickness of the bars. I really liked what the lime zest/juice brought to the filling flavors.


The next step is to bring the quantity down (it's just my husband and me - we do not need huge pans of dessert) and reduce the sweetness of the filling yet again.

Any suggestions?

badge posted by: HerBoudoir on May 29, 2012 at 11:56 am in General discussions
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reply by: mumpy on May 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm

i had the same complaint with my original recipe...crust too thin, and filling skimpy....so i doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9 x 13 instead of the 10 x 15 that would have actually been double the size called for....your crust/cookie is the same as the recipe i use EXCEPT that mine doesn't use zest...well, didn't use zest - it will in the future!

the filling is similar...yours is more generous...my recipe is about 2/3 of yours (4 eggs, 4 TBS flour)...my juice and zest are given as 1/3 cup juice, 1 tsp zest....the big difference is the sugar...my recipe uses 1.25 cups...even adding the additional third - since your recipe is bigger - would only give me one and seven-eighths cups sugar...so i'm with you...i think i'd find this version of the recipe a bit too sweet...my current recipe also uses 2 tsp of confectioner sugar in the filling (that would be 1 TBS in your bigger recipe), but even with that, the total sugar is still below 2 cups.

sorry if i over-explained all this...i was kind of thinking it out as i was typing....i'd try cutting back the sugar...maybe add the powdered sugar...i think it helps keep the consistency nice?

and i'd bet a half of your recipe would work well in an 8 x 8 pan....9 x 9 might be too spread out.

my gang all love lemon bars and would probably tell me not to tinker but i just have to try the zest in the crust....lemon desserts should be tart!...thanks for the idea!!

reply by: HerBoudoir on May 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Yeah, I think the next step is to cut the sugar down another 30% or so.

Interesting on the 10x sugar in the recipe...is that what you sprinkle on top, or is that mixed in the filling? I did sprinkle mine with 10x sugar - just very lightly and very little.

I want to try the recipe in a tart pan.....press the shortbread crust up the sides of a removable tart pan, then bake the filling in. Maybe a little barely-sweetened whipped cream piped in rosettes around the edge. Schmancy it up a bit :-)

Ultimately, what I'd like to end up with is a citrus bar where the juices are relatively interchangable depending on what looks good/is in season - lemon, lime, key lime, orange, tangerine, blood orange.....sugar levels might need to be adjusted but in theory much of the rest should world.

reply by: frick on May 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I noticed on the brownie thread that you were not satified with the shortbread base you were using. I have a recipe I have used for years if you want me to post it. I haven't made it in a long time because my neighbor keeps bringing me her experiments with same. However, I always seem to want to bump up the citrus flavor and did buy some True Lemon (an instant powder) which I've been meaning to try in lemon pie. Let me know if you want info on that as well.

KA also sells powdered lime (lime juice powder?) which may be just the thing you need when limes or key limes are in short supply. INMO, using a powder to augment the juice would keep you from having to add more eggs to thicken the filling. I don't like eggs and can't eat things that begin to taste 'eggy'.

reply by: cwcdesign on May 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm


I would love it if you wanted to post your shortbread crust.
I haven't made lemon bars in a long time and HerBoudoir and mumpy, you have me all excited to make some soon. We get large lemons and decent limes over here :-)

reply by: mumpy on May 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm

the 2 tsp confect sugar in my recipe goes INTO the lemon filling...like you, i sparingly sprinkle some on top of the bars too, but that's just for looks....not sure what the 10x in the filling is for.

reply by: HerBoudoir on May 30, 2012 at 9:26 am

frick, please share the shortbread recipe :-) Or the whole recipe you use while you're at it :-)

mumpy, interesting that the 10x sugar is mixed in. There wouldn't be enough cornstarch in the 10x to have any significant impact on setting the filling and the granulated sugar seems to dissolve just fine in the juice. Hmmm.

reply by: frick on May 30, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Glad I finally found this thread! I put it in my recipes. As I noted, I feel the filling part needs more lemon flavor but more juice and it wouldn't set properly. I'm going to make it and add citrus powder (I have KA's lime) or True Lemon to see if that makes it better. The crust is fine the way it is. The recipe as given is for an 8 X 8" pan so increase it if you are making a larger batch. I double it for a 9 X 13 pan.

If you guys are happy with your filling, please let me know.

reply by: mumpy on May 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm

frick, i love my recipe...goofy little addition of powdered suagar and all!...it doesn't make a super thick layer of filling, but i think it's a nice blend of cookie crust and tart lemon filling...i'm gong to have to make them again very soon, because i'm anxious to try the zest in the cookie layer!

reply by: GinaG on May 31, 2012 at 9:57 pm


I have an idea I thought I'd run by you:

Have you considered using your recipe for individual mini-tarts you can freeze? This omits the need to reduce quantity while supporting your just-the-two-of-us needs and you'll have your lemon "bars" as needed. Or, just make the bars and freeze them individually if that's more practical.


reply by: cwcdesign on June 06, 2012 at 3:45 pm

I'm just getting back to this and have been comparing recipes for making tomorrow.

HerBoudoir and Frick's crusts are proportionally the same.

Does anyone know why frick's recipe would call for a 1/4 teaspoon baking powder in the filling?

I think I will go with less than 2 cups sugar in the filling, but will definitely use all the zest and juice.

Thanks all.

reply by: srizilla on June 06, 2012 at 4:14 pm

i had a recipe for lemon bars that i really liked much better than KAF's that i wanted to share w you guys, but i haven't had a moment to look for it and now that i have i'm having trouble finding it. i think it was from family circle..i haven't tried fricks and herboudoir's so you prob don't even need anymore lemon bar recipes anyway after theirs. =)

reply by: Cindy Leigh on June 06, 2012 at 7:36 pm
Cindy Leigh

The hamburger bun pans make nice tarts.
I have all the citrus powders from KAF in my pantry, wonder how that would work on the crust or to augment the filling.
I love citrus.
I really enjoyed the lemon tart I bought at KAF, it filling was not overly sweet and the crust was like a shortbread.
I have a Lemon Delight recipe from my sister. It has a pie crust type crust, lemon filling, a cream cheese layer, and whipped cream. Decadent!

reply by: srizilla on June 07, 2012 at 12:29 am

well, i've looked everywhere and can't find the clipping. bummer. my recipe stash organization (i.e. complete lack thereof--generally simply together in 1 drawer) is abysmal. i looked online and after selling my soul (or at least my email) to familycircle, this is the ingredient list for the recipe i think i used, which has proportionally more lemon juice than the KAF one (9x13 v 9x9). i think maybe i doubled the filling too but i can't recollect that for sure..looks like scaled (2x) proportions for eggs and flour (for a 9x13, lining the pan w foil) to the KAF recipe proportionately but more lemon juice and less sugar. i remember liking both the crust and filling better than the KAF recipe, it being more lemony and less eggy to me. hope it helps if you're still looking for comparison recipes.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

reply by: cwcdesign on June 07, 2012 at 3:08 am


Thanks for posting. I think I'm going to start with the already posted recipes. FC's crust has more sugar than the other 3 (1/2 cup to 1 stick butter). Sugar seems a little high for the filling as well.

I'll let you all know what happens - I don't have access to the citrus powders (unfortunately - they're great).

reply by: srizilla on June 07, 2012 at 6:20 pm

maybe i misunderstood, i thought you said you were going to use 2 cups of sugar in the filling as you had been concerned that previously it was too sweet... this one had 1 3/4 c so that's why i thought that might be more to your liking. no biggie, whatever works for you--i didn't have the time to actually compare it point by point to the recipes you had so wasn't sure how all the quantities compared. just looked at frick's though and the crust recipe is just a double of her proportions w the exception of the salt addition--hers is for an 8x8 and the familycircle recipe is for a 9x13 so essentially the family circle recipe is just scaled up for the size of the pan. actually, now that i look at it, it looks like the same as your proportions for the crust..and i agree w mumpy that 1/2 the recipe would be fine for an 8x8 (though i actually think based on the area it would be an even better fit in a 9x9). just affects the thickness of the bars a bit either way, but most of the recipes designed for an 8x8 are a 1/2 version of those designed for a 9x13.

frick's filling has proportionally a 1/4 c less sugar than the family circle one (when doubled for a 9x13) but is otherwise the same except the addition of the baking powder (which i've never seen in lemon bars either..).

hope whatever you use it works out to your taste! i might have to make a batch myself next week so let us know! i bought some lemon powder for making an icing recently and would be fun to try using it in the crust.

reply by: srizilla on June 08, 2012 at 1:32 am

well, i didn't have time to make lemon bars tonight though i wanted to (though now that i think about it, by the time 3 pans of cookies rotated through the oven it about amounts to the bake time of one pan of lemon bars...doh!). decided to try out the lemon rasberry jam thumbprint cookies from KAF instead since they looked pretty quick to put together (once the butter warms up anyway). quite tasty if anyone was thinking about trying them, and good reviews! i did add a tablespoon of lemon juice powder to the cookie to up the lemon flavor based on the comments in the reviews as to their mildness and they turned out nice and lemony but not overly tart. also put the rasberry jam on before baking, not as pretty but not as messy for transport either. another winner for KAF. =)

reply by: cwcdesign on June 08, 2012 at 5:11 am

OK, srizilla,

My math was off - I got it in my head that the FC recipe was for a 9x9 (I made a 9x13) so I was doubling the sugar in my peabrain. 2 cups worked out fine, not too sweet, but may back off to the 1 3/4 next time.

Forgot to get limes, added lemon zest to the crust, but not the filling. Didn't freeze the butter for the crust so I could grate it into the mix (currently don't have a food processor), so had large lumps of butter in the crust which is OK. And, then I baked it too long. But DH and lemon-loving son like them. I would actually like MORE lemon filling on top of crust.

Baking issues have to do with crappy oven. It's a convection with the fan on all the time except for broiling/grilling. For a long time, I was having to bake full amount of recipe time. My last batch of KAF Fudge Brownies were overcooked and lemon squares even though I baked them for 30 minutes. Will have to start checking 10 minutes early now.

Edit: If I mixed up the filling with an electric mixer rather than a whisk, I might get more volume that way :-)

reply by: HerBoudoir on June 08, 2012 at 8:43 am

My mom used to make fantastic shortbread (she doesn't bake anymore) without a food processor....I just got one for Christmas (thanks hubby!) and frankly it makes such short light work of shortbread crusts and pie dough, I'd hate to do it without anymore LOL

I think I have to wait a couple weeks to try another lemon bar recipe...we're officially "lemoned out" right now.

I found another shortbread-base cookie that was amazing - http://moveablefeastscookbook.blogspot.com/2012/06/peach-melba-shortbrea...

Made them as-is this week except added some almond extract to the crust because I love almond and wanted to emphasize that. Wonderful. Can't wait to do a vanilla crust with blackberry jam.

reply by: janiebakes on June 08, 2012 at 9:39 am

I know I am jumping in here late but if you could stand one more lemon square recipe I have one that I like quite a lot. I started with Joy of Cooking's lemon curd squares and made changes until I had a recipe I liked better. I also like a very tart lemon dessert.

1 cup AP flour
1/4 cup 10X sugar
1/2 cup of butter melted
Combine all of the above, press into an 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon double acting baking powder
2 beaten eggs
3 TBL lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
Combine and pour over the warm baked crust and bake for 25 minutes. Chill, cut into 2 inch squares and sprinkle with 10x sugar.

I looked up Fricks recipe and this one has a lot in common with it. I think it has the least amount of sugar of any of the recipes though.

reply by: srizilla on June 08, 2012 at 12:05 pm

wow, cw, i don't think i've ever done the crust in a food processor...i think the family circle recipe just creamed the ingredients together w softened butter and pressed into the pan. janie's uses the same proportions but w melted butter. i hate cleaning the food processor so only get it out when absolutely necessary. so myself, i'd probably opt for the creaming or even melted version first. =)

so janie, your filling recipe doesn't have any flour in it--how do you find the consistency compared to those that do? not sure what the baking powder does wo any flour..though i'm not clear what the effect of baking powder in lemon squares is to begin with. yours DEFINITELy has less sugar i think than any i've seen for those that prefer them tarter. (is that a word?) thanks for the recipe and any insight you might have into the differences!

reply by: cwcdesign on June 08, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I know, srizilla,

I like that janiebakes' is melted butter. That's why I thought of going the frozen butter/grating route - my blobs of butter were bigger than I normally would like. The crust was fine though. All you'd have to do is melt the butter in a heat proof bowl in the microwave and add the other ingredients - one bowl - easy peasy :-)

reply by: janiebakes on June 08, 2012 at 1:02 pm

It's been a long time since I made these but I remember them as being very tart and the filling looks more gel-like than cakey. I have no idea why there is baking powder in the filling. I just made them back in the day. These days I would love to know why.
They are called lemon curd squares but I thought lemon curd had butter in it and this topping does not. They do taste good though. The crust is easy to pat into the pan, feels like play dough. You have to watch it carefully, it can burn quickly, especially if its not perfectly even.

reply by: cwcdesign on June 09, 2012 at 3:41 pm

So, just to add another recipe to the mix, Fine Cooking sent this one out today - for blueberry streusel lemon cream filling bars

reply by: srizilla on June 09, 2012 at 8:12 pm

those do look good and definitely a different twist--sort of between lemon cream cheese bars and coffee cake from the looks of it!

reply by: GinaG on June 09, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Does anyone have any ideas on what can be used in place of condensed milk?

reply by: cwcdesign on June 10, 2012 at 7:30 am


Cooks.com has a bunch of recipes for condensed milk substitute. Looks to be dry milk, water and sugar. You might want to check it out to see if it helps. Swirth's source Cook's Thesaurus.com did not have any substitutes.

reply by: frick on June 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Coincidentally, I jotted down a recipe from a new (slightly dubious) source this week and actually baked the stuff. It was a chocolate version similar to cwc's finecooking blueberry streusel bar. Yes, it used the sweetened condensed milk (sorry, Gina), a product I NEVER use, and while it had a glitch or two, my DH and neighbor loved it. The bars were so chewy I thought the base would be good for just about any topping. So, anyone interested? The base is oats, butter, flour & brown sugar, topped with a cup of SCM, a cup of walnuts, a cup of chocolate chips and some of the oat streusel.
Oh, let's just write it down!

1 cup each AP flour and quick oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter -- I used salted

Whisk dry ingred. together and cut in butter. Note: butter, grease or otherwise prepare a 9 X 13 pan. Reserve 1/2 cup of streusel and press remainder into the pan. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, measure:

1 cup sweetened condensed milk mixed with 1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts.

Remove hot crust from oven and immediately pour on the condensed milk. Sprinkle on as evenly as possible the chips and nuts, then the reserved 1/2 cup streusel. Bake 25-30 minutes.

BIG NOTE: 25 minutes was a bit too long in my oven (weird!) so start checking at 20 min. At 25, a bit of the SCM had bubbled up and caramelized into chewy bubbles, not what I believe should be the case. The recipe I followed did not advise on the pan so dumb me did nothing and it stuck on the sides like crazy. Very chewy edges, my favorite part, were a giant PITA.

NOTE # 2. One cup of the SCM leaves a few ounces in the can. I thought it did not quite cover the oat base so the next time around, I will pour on another 1-2 Tbsp. I did add a few more chocolate chips. Use your own judgment here. DH asked for more walnuts next time.

They are very chewy, a good thing in my book, and delicious. Even better when a serving is warmed a bit in the microwave.

Vanilla ice cream should be considered, for QC, of course.

I shall use this same recipe with variations, such as blueberries, or slivered dried apricots, or crushed pineapple with all the juice pressed out, or butterscotch chips, or just lots of nuts. Can you imagine walnuts and pieces of red and green candied cherries at Christmas time? Or chunks of ginger? Yum!

reply by: swirth on June 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Carol...I don't read nearly everything here but do have two recipes for homemade sweetened condensed milk from a very old newspaper article from our county home extension advisor...the paper is brown it is so old. I'd posted these on the oldBC long ago.

The following recipe makes a scant 1 1/3 cups which is equal to the contents of a 14 oz. can. If your recipe calls for 1/2 can or 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk, just make a half recipe.


Sweetened condensed milk

Recipe # 1...

Makes 1 1/3 cups, equal to 14 oz. can.

1/2 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups instant dry milk powder

Have the butter, sugar and powdered milk measured. Measure boiling water into blender container. Add butter, sugar, then milk powder. Blend once, briefly, then scrape down sides of container, then blend til completely smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour out and let it stand until cooled and thickened. Use immediately, or refrigerate covered. Makes 1 1/3 cups.


Recipe # 2

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Add 1/2 cup warm water to the nonfat dry milk. Mix well. Set mixture in double boiler or a pan within a pan of hot water. Gradually stir in the 3/4 cup sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let stand until cool and thickened. Use or cover and refrigerate.

reply by: GinaG on June 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Chewy, I love. I don't have any experience with condensed milk but I picked up both evaporated and condensed sweetened because I'm always running into recipes calling for it, but have no idea the impact on the end result, such as flavor.

I was just curious about what one could do if they didn't have it. Could you make a dulce de leche instead? Heat and reduce milk or 1/2&1/2 with sugar? I'm almost tempted to open a can to taste it...Who will dare me?

reply by: frick on June 10, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Gina, you are braver than I am. It's sweet as candy as far as I can make out, but it does have it's uses. I made the bars for all the usual reasons -- the photo looked scrumptious, and it took almost no measuring, no effort and only 8 ingredients if you count vanilla. Rather than tasting the SCM, I say bake something. That recipe was fairly low cost except for the walnuts, and it took no time at all.

BTW, the bars are VERY sweet. Plan on sharing with friends and neighbors. No one could eat a whole pan of them.

Rather than try to make a substitute with dry milk, I think I would use evaporated milk mixed with sugar.

reply by: srizilla on June 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm

Very sweet, yes...but i can't be the only one here who finds the stuff quite tasty. i could lick it off a spoon, so gina, if you're curious, no bravery required--there are far scarier things to sample out there. it has a flavor profile similar to caramel. dulce de leche is a variant of it, sort of a caramel from sweetened condensed milk.

we have some indian milk sweets that taste similar sweetened condensed milk and are at base the same thing--concentrated milk that has been sweetened. anyway, not something i have or use very often (i think the last can i used part of to make a batch of caramel but i can't recollect for sure..) but i've seen it in similar squares/bars containing coconut which are quite tasty.

reply by: GinaG on June 11, 2012 at 2:36 am


I sort of take that as a dare, so stay tuned for my review!


Something tells me to muster-up a little courage anyway. Wish me luck. Tomorrow I will taste it.

I stocked the pantry with both evaporated and condensed milk because there are a number of things I've wanted to make and couldn't, such as the milk candies and the coconut version; tres leches cake, dulce de leche and a couple of intriguing ice-cream recipes...I'm bracing myself.

reply by: cwcdesign on June 11, 2012 at 4:49 am

I think I'm going to have to try those bars for the guys in my house, frick - looks very easy and walnuts are less expensive here than pecans :-)

Gina, I like the taste of sweetened condensed milk, but it's so sweet it's one of those things that you can't take many bites of and as srizilla mentioned it can be a base for dulce de leche (and other caramel things) Some versions of key lime pie also use it.

swirth, thanks for posting those recipes - in a duh moment, I hadn't thought to check the baking circle. Gina had asked so I went looking (in all the wrong places?)

reply by: GinaG on June 11, 2012 at 10:55 am

OK! Just tried it. Boy, it is thick stuff, huh? I let two tiny drops ooze from the can onto a spoon and that was enough for me to get an idea. Now I know what one could do if they don't have condensed milk on hand: Reduce milk and sugar for ages in a sauce pan.
Does brand matter much? I have Borden's Eagle Brand.

Now that I've tasted the SCM, I'm pretty sure my early childhood post traumatic memory is of evaporated milk. I've been averse to both for not knowing which it was that made me gag and spit all over my chin and dress after my mother told me not to touch it and I just had to the instant she turned her back. I can still see her eyes go huge and wagging her finger, "See? I told you!"

Poor Mom. She hadn't learned yet what an intractable daughter she had. Or that decades later "Don't touch that," still blares in my head when I see those cans!

reply by: swirth on June 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

My two posted recipes in this thread are quite easy and work very well. I've used them for over 30 years...came from our county extension agent's newletters.

Eagle Brand is likely the one most cooks/bakers grab for but we've also bought the Dollar General version for very little $$ and it was absolutely fine.

Today's cans contain a mere 11 oz., tho, rather than the former sized cans of 14 oz.

I have a posted Cherry Surprise Salad recipe that uses a can of SCM and it is so easy and lucious and rich!!!

reply by: GinaG on June 11, 2012 at 1:24 pm

The cans I have are 14 oz. and they were .25 cents each from Grocery Outlet about 3 months ago. Maybe I have some long lost, ancient stuff here, now I'm a little worried...

reply by: frick on June 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Well, you've already tasted it and didn't croak so just check the "use by" date. I have been known to go beyond it if the item is very expensive. Still, I cringe. My neighbor who is unemployed and hanging on by a thread will use anything and seems to have no problem.

reply by: GinaG on June 12, 2012 at 1:19 am

That's scary, there is no "use by" date. It just says keep in cool dry place, refrigerate after opening.

I don't think I need to remind everyone how I feel about consumables with a perpetual shelf-life. That just can't be good!

reply by: srizilla on June 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

popping back to lemon goodies, i made the lemon crinkle cookies traci had posted previously w her suggestion of tripling the lemon zest--great cookie! not sure i've had a lemon cookie that style before, chewy, tender, similar to a sugar cookie but more like a very light chocolate crinkle except lemon. just melts! next time i made them i might try adding some lemon juice powder just to see but they're great as is.

i'm going to make the lemon bars tonight too (the family circle recipe) and i think i will add a bit of lemon juice powder to the filling on that one. i'll add a bit of zest to the crust but avoid the powder there--i tried mixing the powder w the sugar for amish lemon poppy seed bread but it kind of burned compared to the sugar by itself or mixed w zest. granted that has a lot longer bake time than a lemon bar crust and it would be mixed into the crust rather than coating it but i'd rather not risk that one tonight. if anyone winds up trying it wo incident let me know for next time! =)

reply by: GinaG on June 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm


Those crinkle cookies sound like they'd make a nice mini ice-cream sandwich...Just to give you an idea of where my mind is right now: My mind is racing with all things cool and refreshing, summer is definitely here!

Have you ever had lemon custard ice-cream??? O.M.G. I grew up on the stuff, it is really hard to find commercially but making it at home is exactly the flavor and texture I remember: A mouth full of cool, unctuous, decadence with a lingering whisper of citrus sunshine.

reply by: OldSoul on June 13, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I'm so glad you enjoyed them srizilla! 😊I think they are a nice change from a heavier cookie.
And Gina, you can't leave me hangin' like that! Will you please post your lemon custard ice cream? Pretty please??

reply by: srizilla on June 13, 2012 at 10:37 pm

totally agree, traci, and i second the request for the recipe. =) actually, these would be very tasty w the lemon basil sherbet too, what a flavorful sandwich that would make!

oh, and to clarify on the bread (rereading my post i don't think i was clear at all), normally you grease the pan then coat it in sugar--cinnamon-sugar if making cinnamon bread and just sugar if lemon bread. i mixed zest in w the sugar last time to coat the pan when making lemon bread and it was nice. but when i coated the pan w the sugar mixed w bit of lemon juice powder the bread totally stuck (despite pan grease--you guys are brilliant by the way, totally worked on the other loaves!) and the crust burnt. didn't consider the sweeteners/corn syrup solids in the lemon juice powder which didn't fare well. might have been ok mixed into the crust of the lemon bars but after that experience i wasn't sure i wanted to chance it in a crust. we'll see how the filling turns out w it, i nearly forgot!

reply by: OldSoul on June 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Mmm! Yes, they would go nicely together. :).

reply by: cwcdesign on June 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I just took frick's oatmeal/condensed milk/chocolate/walnut thingie out of the oven. Looks wonderful all bubbly and everything. Can't wait til it cools down. And, yes I did butter the pan - I even thought about putting foil in the pan, but not this time.

EDIT: They are very good - not as sweet as I thought they would be, but then I used bittersweet chocolate. I also forgot to mention that I used the entire can of condensed milk and the full teaspoon of vanilla. I was surprised at how the vanilla cut the sweetness of the condensed milk.

I WOULD line the pan with foil and then butter - the edges do stick a little, so it was harder to take the first few out.

reply by: cwcdesign on June 30, 2012 at 10:19 am

An update on lemon squares and frick's walnut chocolate bars.

Last Sunday I made a batch of lemon bars using janiebakes shortbread recipe - the one with melted butter. It made it so easy to put in the pan. Then I beat the lemon filling with the hand mixer. All in all, much better than my first version. I still used 2 cups sugar and less zest (only because I didn't have enough lemons and limes). Still might try 1 3/4 cups sometimes. Oh, and I need to remember to add the zest to the filling AFTER using the mixer - it all clumped around the blades.

So, yesterday I had a request for frick's bars (yes, they were that good) and decided to adapt the crust with melted butter. I only had rolled oats, not quick, so I mixed the rolled oats with the melted butter to hydrate them a little and then added the other ingredients for the crust. The crust was much better made that way. For the filling, the full can of sweetened condensed milk with vanilla and 200g of dark chocolate, about a cup of walnuts. Very successful again.