Once again the end of the month brings the excitement of Reveal Day for us members of The Secret Recipe Club.  For those who don’t know what it’s all about, the club pairs two food bloggers in secret, and on reveal day everyone posts their recipe of choice.  I was assigned the blog Turnips2Tangerines, hosted by Lynn, from Wisconsin. Lynn’s site is a very sweet spot, with many recipes centered on all things dessert, but you will also find plenty of savory dishes to drool over. She also publishes a monthly feature called Culinary Adventures, where the cooking of a particular country is highlighted through a menu and recipes. Very nice, check her latest post on Sweden by clicking here.

When classes are over Phil and I tend to get a lot busier in the lab, with daily meetings at 7:30am.  I know that the occasional sweet treat is more than welcome by our students, so I jumped on Lynn’s blog with that thought in mind.  The moment I saw her post on lemon lavender bars, I looked no further.  But, at some point I must make her Chai Spice Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting. They look adorable, and of course, spices make sweets special.  Or how about a Banana Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze? Yeah, baby…

(from Turnips2Tangerines)

for the crust:
2 cups flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup cold butter
1/2 t culinary lavender

for the filling:
4 eggs
5 T fresh lemon juice
1 T grated lemon peel
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1 t culinary lavender

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a bowl combine flour, confectioners’ sugar and lavender; cut in butter until crumbly (I used the food processor).  Press into an ungreased 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Make the filling by beating the eggs in a bowl until frothy.  Stir in lemon juice and peel.
In another bowl combine the sugar, flour, and baking powder. Stir into the egg mixture, mixing well with a whisk.  Pour over baked crust, and sprinkle lavender over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack, cut into bars. If you want, sprinkle confectioner’s sugar before serving.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  Yellow might be one of my favorite colors, so it’s only natural that I always have plenty of lemons in the fridge. Plenty.  I cannot imagine cooking without them, even savory dishes.  Lavender is another flavor I am fond of, but of course it needs to be in small doses, it’s easy to have it overpowering a dish. In these bars, the amount of lavender was just right.  I decided to use the food processor for the crust because I felt that the lavender would be better dispersed throughout the crust by doing so. After processing, I dumped everything on the counter and made sure the flour was all coated with butter, no big spots of dry flour remaining.  It is also important to try to spread the crust as evenly as possible, so that it browns at the same rate in the oven. I almost managed to do that, but one corner ended up a bit over-baked.  No major harm done, though.

The bars made a Monday morning early meeting much easier to go through…


Lynn, thanks for a lovely recipe, and I hope you had a great time with your assignment this month!  For my readers, you are all invited to browse through the goodies made by my fellow screters from group D. Just poke the blue frog at the end of this post, and have a blast!

ONE YEAR AGO: Quinoa Fried Rice

TWO YEARS AGO: Carrot Flan with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette

THREE YEARS AGO: The Secret Recipe Club: Granola Bars

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Awesome Broccolini

FIVE YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto

SIX YEARS AGO: Ciabatta: Judging a bread by its holes


I’ve baked  cookies,  I’ve baked cupcakes, I’ve baked pies, brownies and even (my nemesis) cakes.  But, I’ve never made any kind of “bar,” and that gap in my  knowledge of sweets was tempting me to bake some.  Plus,  they look like a lot of fun to prepare.  Profiting from my  online subscription to Fine Cooking, I found a recipe for lemon shortbread bars in the December 2006 issue:  it was simple enough for a first timer, with great reviews from the readers.   Lemon is my favorite flavor in desserts, which locked in my choice.    Indeed, they are amazing, even  mesmerizing to some…  😉

(Fine Cooking, Dec 2006, recipe by Nicole Rees)

For the crust:
Non-stick cooking spray or melted butter for the pan
7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. table salt
9-1/2 oz. (2 cups plus 2 Tbs.) all-purpose flour

For the lemon topping:
4 large eggs
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. table salt
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. finely grated fresh lemon zest
1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar

Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil, creating an overhang for easy removal. Lightly coat the sides of the foil melted butter to prevent the lemon topping from sticking.

In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 10 minutes), until the dough is firm. While the crust cools, heat the oven to 325 F.

Remove the crust from the fridge (or freezer) and bake until golden and set, about 30 minutes.

Make the lemon topping: in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt together until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest. Pour the topping over the hot crust. Return the pan to the oven and increase the heat to 350°F. Bake until the topping is set in the center and the edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour. When the bottom of the pan is cool, lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars, sift the confectioners’ sugar over the lemon topping. Cut the bars into 2-inch squares.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Serve these bars at room temperature, but you can refrigerate them for several days without the crust losing its wonderfully crunchy texture.     After baking them the evening before, I put them in the fridge, covered with aluminum foil, and transferred them to room temperature 2 hrs before our lab meeting at 5 pm.   As soon as I uncovered the pan an enticing lemon scent filled the room , the best possible advertisement for the delicacy ahead….

It was a test of willpower to stop eating them!

ONE YEAR AGO:  Pizza Napoletana

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