I love lemons!
I love everything about lemons!
I love the taste of lemons, the smell of lemons, the color and shape of lemons!
I purchase lemons by the pound, not individually – last week I bought 5 lbs. of lemons. Wondering what 5 pounds of lemons look like? – see the above photo (you can also see my lemon tablecloth in the picture!).
Over the next few weeks I am going to share with you what I did with 5 lbs. of lemons!
But before I do that I want to tell you about two kitchen tools you are going to need if you are going to work with lemons.
First – the microplaner. I love this tool. It is a long, small grater type tool. You use it to “zest” a lemon which basically means grating the lemon rind. Fresh lemon zest adds great flavor to recipes.
Second – you will need a lemon juicer. I use this handy little hand juicer – it quickly and easily squeezes all the juice out of the lemon. I got mine for a couple of dollars at Ikea but both of these tools can be found at any kitchen shop or even Target.
You are going to want to use fresh lemon juice, not that fake stuff that comes in the green bottle at the grocery store for the recipes I will share with you so get juicing!
One of my favorite lemon recipes is Lemon Bars. Recently a new friend I met through my blog, Rachel, shared with me her recipe for Lemon Cheesecake Bars and promised me they would become my new favorite lemon recipe – she was right. The cheesecake layer makes for a much creamier and yummier lemon bar!
Lemon Cheesecake Bars - you will need 3-4 lemons for this recipe
3/4 cup butter, chilled
2 cups flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
Crust: Preheat oven to 325. Cut butter into pieces. In a food processor (or blender on low, pulse setting) Process all ingredients until mixture becomes tiny and fine pieces. Sprinkle mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan and press evenly into bottom of pan. Bake for 12 minutes and remove from oven.
Cheesecake: In medium bowl, blend cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar and mix well. Cream together the rest of the ingredients until smooth. Pour cheesecake evenly over hot crust. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 300.
Lemon layer: In a bowl whisk together eggs and sugar until combined well. Stir in lemon juice and flour. Pour over semi-baked cheesecake. Bake at 300 for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle powdered sugar over top if desired.
Cool for an hour and then refrigerate. Can be served warm but better after it has chilled. I let it sit out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before I serve it. For families, it will probably be eaten as soon as they are out of the fridge.
Makes 24 bars