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My Twist on Lemon Bars
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Why Change the Lemon Bar to Lemon Cups?
Truth be told, my husband has a bit of a love affair with vintage cookbooks.
Honestly, I think he has at least 50, and most likely, more are stashed somewhere unknown to me. One of his favorites is the Betty Crocker Cooky Book from 1978. It has seen quite a bit of use, and the other day, it made another appearance.
I tend to be the one to cook the desserts and other sweets in the house, so I settled to choose which cooky recipe to make. Coming across the lemon bar recipe that always pleases, I suddenly had an idea.
Now, I had fairly recently added a cast iron muffin pan to my collection of cast iron cookware (I found this lovely vintage one at a garage sale), and had only had one occasion to use it so far. How would it work to make the lemon bars in this pan?
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice, fresh - just tastes better
- 1/2 cup filberts
- 1/8 cup confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350 degrees if using regular muffin tin. *If using cast iron, you will wait and put the filled muffin pan in the oven filled with ingredients, then turn on the oven, as to not crack a cold cast iron pan.
- Blend flour, butter, and confectioners' sugar thoroughly. Divide into the individual muffin cups, and press evenly on the bottom and up the sides.
- Bake 20 minutes *With the cast iron - turn oven to 350 degrees and place pan in oven. Keep a close eye on the dough-filled pan, as they may cook faster. Remove when lightly browned.
- Beat the remaining ingredients together. Pour into the "crust cups" and bake 25 minutes, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. *Again, keep an eye on them, and remove when the center is light browned.
- Dust with confectioners sugar, and top with chopped filberts (hazelnuts) if desired.
What Would I Have Done Different?
This being the first test run for baking lemon bars in a muffin pan, I reflected on what I might do differently next round.
First off, let me say that I was quite pleased with the outcome; and my husband, dare I say, was extremely pleased.
So. . . next time, I will press the crust all the way to the top of the muffin cup. You can go quite thin with this step as the dough puffs up a bit when cooking anyway, and you need all the room you can get to add the filling.
I tried a few chopped filberts on top while baking, but they didn't come out really any different than putting them on after baking. I think the lemon cups look nicer if dusted with the confectioners' sugar after baking, and then topped with the filberts.
Betty Crocker Cooky Book
Vintage Betty Crocker Cooky Book Still Available
I have used Betty Crocker cookbooks since a young girl, and the Cooky Book is one of my favorites, filled with most every cookie recipe imaginable; 450 cookie recipes to be exact.
What really made me smile is that the Cooky Book is still available! Ours is dated 1978, but it obviously has had several reprints.
Yes, you too can own The Betty Crocker Cooky Book . . . and yes, this really does make me happy!
Cast Iron Cookbook
Cast Iron Cookware Set
Cooking With Cast Iron
If you currently cook with cast iron, you understand my passion for it.
If you don't, you really should give it a try. The way the heat conducts, there is just no better way, in my opinion, to cook or bake most anything. We have found ourselves using it for things we never would've imagined. From breads, to roasts, deserts and pizza, we thoroughly enjoy the cast iron. My family has used cast iron to cook with for many generations, and I am thrilled to have a set that will last the rest of my cooking days, at which point, it will be handed down to the next generation.
It is especially rewarding to find a piece of cast iron cookware at a rummage sale. All sad and rusty, we bring it home, give it a good scrub to get all rust off, season it, and give it a forever home in our kitchen.
The care and maintenance is a topic for another article, but you can find oodles of information on the subject.
Now, I don't have anything personally to do with The Lodge Company, but I do own a couple of Lodge cast iron pieces, and being American made, they have proven to be high quality and I don't hesitate to recommend them.
And, don't hesitate to pick up a skillet or flat griddle or anything else at a sale. As long as it doesn't have cracks, or worn through spots, you can make that baby new again, and use it pretty much forever!