The Best Lemon Bars (Ever)

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I was craving a citrus dessert- who isn’t this time of year? Yesterday I made these beautiful, delicious lemon bars by merging two recipes. These bars are cakey and thick, with a subtle (but not too subtle) lemon flavor. Next time I would add just a tad more lemon juice, but other than that, I think this recipe has been perfected. 🙂 (Note: It’s crucial to use FRESH squeezed lemon juice! The artificial stuff just doesn’t cut it). 

Sydney’s Best Ever Lemon Bars lightly adapted from both sugarwinzy and citronlimette

Ingredients:

For the crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

For the lemon filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (If you want a more bold lemon flavor, add 3/4 cup)
  • 2 – 3 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
  2. Spray a 9″ by 13″ pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Zest the lemon! DSCN0731
  4. For the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 (or 3) teaspoons powdered sugar and lemon zest. Slice the 1 cup butter into the mixture and cut until crumbly.DSCN0733

    The mixture will appear crumbly after cutting in the butter.

    The mixture will appear crumbly after cutting in the butter.

  5. Lightly press mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. DSCN0736
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is lightly brown.
  7. For the filling: First, use a juicer to squeeze approx. 2 1/2 lemons. I used my mom’s old (but trusty!) juicer. DSCN0742
  8. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk eggs until smooth. Then whisk in 1/2 (or 3/4) cup fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 – 3 teaspoons of lemon zest until well combined. Finally, whisk in the 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.DSCN0743
  9.  Pour the well-combined mixture over the hot baked crust.
  10. Bake at 350℉ for 20-25 minutes, or until filling is set.DSCN0758

11. Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle powdered sugar on top. DSCN0753

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You will not regret making these delicious, refreshing treats! It’s also a fairly simple recipe that experienced bakers could whip up in 15 minutes (minues the baking time). Anyways, let me know what you think if you decide to bake these! Thanks again for your support. 🙂

~ Sydney ~

Angel Food Cupcakes with Strawberries & Cream

DSCN0699Last Saturday, I searched and searched for a simple, “spring-y” dessert to make for Mother’s Day. And voilá! I found this easy and super tasty recipe. At first, I was skeptical because I had never made angel food cake before, but everything worked out. 🙂 The strawberries add the perfect refreshing touch to it– almost like a modified strawberries and shortcake.

Angel Food Cake Cupcakes with Strawberries and Cream adapted from design. bake. run. 

Ingredients:

Cupcakes

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar – i added 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 egg whites – note: it is best to use fresh egg whites not from the carton. most of the store-bought egg whites will not form stiff peaks due to the pasteurization process
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla – i used 2 teaspoons (i love my vanilla!)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Strawberries & Cream Filling

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  • 12 strawberries, washed and sliced (you can use more or less, depending on how many you’d like per cupcake)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar – i like my whipping cream a little sweeter, so i changed this to 4 1/2 tablespoons
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉ and line 1 cupcake pan (12 count) with cupcake liners.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and sugars (1/2 cup granulated + 1/2 cup powdered).
  3. Using a mixer, whip the egg whites for approx. one minute, until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla and salt. Whip for 5-6 minutes, or until stiff peaks form. note: this is where I became worried! it took longer than 6 minutes for the stiff peaks to form, but it worked out. be careful not to over-whip the egg whites. 

    After whipping the egg whites for 6-7 minutes, they should look like this.

    After whipping the egg whites for 6-7 minutes, they should look like this.

  4. Pour 1/4 cup of the flour mixture into the egg mixture and gently fold in. Repeat until all of the flour is incorporated.

    Step 5 - Add 1/4 of the flour mixture and fold in the egg mixture. Repeat until all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg white mixture.

    Step 4 – Add 1/4 of the flour mixture and fold in the egg mixture. Repeat until all of the flour mixture is incorporated into the egg white mixture.

  5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners 3/4 of the way (i only poured the batter in halfway- still works fine, just makes smaller cupcakes) and bake for 15-17 minutes or until the cupcakes are lightly golden and springy to the touch.

    Step 6 - Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners.

    Step 5 – Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners.

  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

    The finished product.

    The finished product.

For the whipped cream:

  1. Add the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to a medium-sized bowl and whip for 3-4 minutes, or until light and airy. Store the whipped cream in the refrigerator until ready to use.

    The ingredients adore their creation of the amazing whipped cream.

    The ingredients adore their creation of the amazing whipped cream.

To assemble the cupcakes:

  1. Carefully take off the cupcake liners and slice the cupcakes in half.
  2. Spread a generous portion of the whipped cream on the bottom half, then add the sliced strawberries on top. Top the strawberry layer with another spoonful of whipped cream.DSCN0693
  3. Place the top half of the cupcake back on (don’t press down too hard or the strawberries will fall off on the sides). If the cupcake is about to fall apart, place a toothpick in the middle to hold it together.
  4. Serve right away, or refrigerate until ready to consume.

Thanks again to design.bake.run. for this simple and perfect summertime treat! This weekend I’ll be posting another surprise recipe… (hint: I’ll be using the egg yolks that I got from the egg whites in this recipe, and it also has to do with summertime). If you try the recipe, let me know how it works for you. 🙂

~ Sydney ~

Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day! (And Happy 1st Post?)

Don’t worry, I remembered it yesterday- just didn’t have enough time to blog about my day. We enjoyed a nice day up in San Francisco and the weather was BEAUTIFUL.

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View from China Beach.

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China Beach.

Gorgeous, right? I wish I could spend more time up there- great weather (I love the fog), plenty of amazing food and an abundance of cultures all meshed together.

We started the day off in the upper Mission area and tried out a restaurant called Grub. Reasonable prices, bottomless Mimosas (Mom loved that!) and quality dishes. I had the Pulled Pork Sandwich that came with a side of french fries (they listed them as “pomme frittes”, but whatever- I’m not really into the whole fancy shmancy names for average foods).

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A few of my friends are vegetarians and honestly I don’t understand how they can cope without meat… I mean, who could resist that ^^ ? They’re missing out big time. (But I guess that means there’s more for me!) 😉

We walked around the Mission for a while afterwards and stumbled upon a few cute shops. This one building was very charming on the first floor… But wow. The second level gave us all the creeps. There was definitely an eerie feeling to the peeling paint and huge level filled with old furniture. Looks like the set of the next cheesy horror film…

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Just so you know, I really have no tolerance for horror films- gory movies aren’t my thing.

Anyways, after the “haunted” building, we went to Russian Hill in search of coffee. I had the best fro-yo of my life at this tiny place called Loving Cup. I can’t even begin how to describe how they make it. You pick from a list of toppings and they like, blend it in. The coffee is amazing too (or so I heard). Although it’s fairly expensive ($4.75 for a medium fro-yo), I’d say it was worth every. single. penny. 🙂 I have a picture, but it’s pretty bad because I took it after I had already indulged. But if you can get past the crappy photo quality, please just imagine: decadent, creamy, rich (my stomach thought it was ice cream) and flavorful.

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This photo embarrasses me. It really doesn’t do the yogurt any justice. Oh well.

Anyways, hopefully we’ll be going to the city more often because summer is just around the corner! I can’t wait to get through finals and be freeeeeeee. 🙂

I’ll be sharing a recipe I made for Mother’s Day sometime this week!

~ Sydney ~