Lemon Heaven

A couple weekends ago, Mr. Ahi Tuna man did the worst thing he could possibly do: He brought up lemon squares in conversation. Ok, maybe that’s not the WORST thing he could do. I mean, it’s not like he wore Crocs on a date or something. But you know what I mean. It did, however, remind me that I haven’t had a lemon square in an unacceptable amount of time, and caused me to have a mild lemon bar recipe obsession, and maybe a couple dreams about bathing in lemony topping. Which is totally not weird at all. Pssh.

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So I decided that lemon squares must be mine.

Oh yes.

They will be mine.

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And they were.

I shared, though, because I’m nice like that, and it WAS Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s idea, and I guess he’s nice sometimes, except when he dumps milkshakes directly in my lap and stuff.

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Dislaimer: It’s quite possible that upon finishing these lemon squares, you MAY want to sit down with a tall vodka & cranberry, and immediately shove four of them in your mouth. Not that I did that. Nope. But you have been warned.

Paula’s Lemon Squares

Prep time: Between the crust and the filling, meh, about 20 minutes.

Baking time: Altogether, 50 minutes or thereabouts. This is a very technical blog, obviously.

Stuff you need:

For the crust:

  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (Salted or unsalted butter, whatever you prefer. I can never tell a big difference. Butter’s butter where I come from.)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

 For the lemon goo:

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (You may be able to get away with the stuff in a bottle, but I do not recommend it at all. I cannot guarantee they will come out delicious. I just squeezed the crap out of 5 lemons with my strong, Hulk-like hands.)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, just for dusting the tops after they’re done

 What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line a 13×9 metal pan with aluminum foil, and make the edges overhang so you can lift the bars out easily later. Coat sides of foil with cooking spray so the lemon goo won’t stick.
  3. In a medium bowl, dump the sugar, salt, lemon zest, and vanilla, and use a fork to mix it all together until it’s sort of moist and crumbly. Throw in your flour and butter, and continue mashing it all up with a fork until it’s a crumbly dough.
  4. Press dough evenly into the bottom of your 13×9 pan, then poke some fork holes all over, just so no bothersome air bubbles happen. Lemon bar air bubbles would be a disaster. A DISASTER!! Sorry I yelled. Ok, now stick that pan in the freezer for about 5 minutes to firm up the dough a bit.
  5. Once the dough is sufficiently chill (Duuuuude. That freezer was bitchin’. *dough takes drag off cigarette*), bake in preheated over for 25 – 30 minutes, until slightly golden.
  6. While your dough is baking, make the lemon goo! Basically, you just stir together the dry ingredients and the lemon zest, then whisk in your eggs and lemon juice. Ta-da! Lemon goo! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Haha! Sorry. Moving along…
  7. Once crust is done, remove it from oven and raise your temp to 350 degrees.
  8. Pour lemon goo on the crust, and return to the oven to bake for another 20 – 25 minutes, until you can shake shake shake the pan and the lemon goo doesn’t shake shake shake with it.
  9. Cool bars completely. If you’re really impatient (or really hungry), you can put them in the fridge to speed things up.
  10. Once cool, lift out of the pan using your overhanging foil. If you skipped that part, you are now just screwed. Haha! Anyhooo… Peel away the foil and chop your big hunk o’ lemon into cute little squares, however big you want to make ‘em. You’re in charge of your own lemon bar destiny. Dust with powdered sugar, and you are now ready to shove multiple lemon bars into your face. Again, not that I did that. Gotta run now.

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You’re welcome.

The Oatmeal Scotchie Debacle Of 2014

I learned two things this weekend:

1. Never wear brand new high heeled shoes to meet your Mr. Ahi Tuna Man’s friends for the first time, unless you want to end up walking like a wounded moose before appetizers arrive., AND:

2. Never, EVER, under ANY circumstances, be a lazy asshole and turn your favorite cookies into bar cookies because you don’t want to have to keep getting up from the couch.

 *Sigh*

 Oh, the shame.

 Don’t get me wrong, these suckers are still delicious. Perhaps if I’d not been mildly hung over and wanted to10801740_10154871658760551_4032877476916594889_n take a shortcut to Baked Butterscotch Town (How cool would it be if that was a real place? I’d totally go live there. Especially if Caramel City was right next door. Holy shit. I’d die.) (Moving along now. Tangent.), these would have potentially been the best damn oatmeal butterscotch cookies I’ve made thus far in my 22-ish (Give or take 15 years. Whatever.) years on this earth. We will never know. I learned my lesson. The hard way. But seriously, make these in cookie form, because they are delightful (Yes, I used the word ‘delightful’.), and they taste like home, and comfort, and Baked Butterscotch Town baked good happiness.

 I’m gonna give you the recipe like if I’d  made it the right way, and we’ll just pretend the whole cookie bar thing never happened, k? K.

Now… come closer for a second.

Closer.

Closer.

Ok, too close. Creeper.

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Drinking RumChata while baking is completely optional. Not for me. But for most.

Anyway… Don’t tell anyone, but my secret for perfect cookies is to replace half the butter that’s called for in most cookie recipes with Crisco butter-flavored shortening. Some may say this is gross. Those people would be very wrong and should definitely be kicked in the kneecaps. I find the Crisco gives the cookies light, crispy edges while still maintaining a moist and chewy center. Just trust me on this. If I’m wrong, well, you don’t know where I live, so whatever. Come at me, bro.

But seriously… I cannot emphasize this enough… Make these. In cookie form. Not bar form. Learn from my mistakes, folks.

 Here we go!

Pass The Oats N’ Scotch Cookies:

Prep time: I mixed ’em up the old-fashioned way, mostly because Mr. Ahi Tuna Man has no Kitchenaid mixer. I swear, he’s like some kind of caveman. Anyway, it still only took about 10 minutes to whip this crap up.

Cooking time: 9 – 10 minutes per batch or thereabouts. Don’t burn them. No pressure.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (I like mine all spiced and shit.)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I don’t like to use margarine, but I suppose you could if you had to. Heathen.)
  • 1 stick butter-flavored shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats (I like the ones with the Quaker man on them.)
  • 1 package butterscotch chips, minus 5 – 6 chips because I ate them
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Mix together your flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. (Actually, sometimes I don’t even do this, I just dump everything in one big bowl and beat the crap out of it. I’m a bad baker. We’ve already established that I’m lazy. Whatever. Move along. Nothing to see here, people.)
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a big-ass bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture (Or just dump n’ mix, like I said up there.). Stir in oats and morsels. If you’re doing this by hand, your arm will really, really hurt by now.
  4. Drop it like it’s hot onto ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake 9 -10 minutes for crisp cookies. You can take them out sooner if you like them soft and chewy, though. Freak.
  6. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Or onto cheap paper towels. That’s what I do. We’re not fancy around here.
  7. Eat all cookies. Do not share.
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Stupid bar cookies. They still looked pretty damn good, though. Right? They’re good. Just not COOKIE good. I shall try again. Mark my words. I AM NOT FINISHED YET!!! And…. Scene.