Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What to Eat Wednesday-lemon bar taste test

I figured I would break the blog silence with a treat.

Last Sunday we had a Pinterest inspired lemon bar taste test. Oh I love my pins on Pinterest- and how it has changed my ability to recall where I see things. I am determined to not let it suck my time ... but to allow me to organize ideas and be able to recall where I have seen things. I love it!

I had pinned two separate lemon bars. One was a traditional lemon bar and another used a cake mix. I decided to try both on the same night and have the family try bite size pieces side by side to see what we liked best.

Jay LOVES lemon bars. I don't mind them, but usually can't stand the "eggy" smell that accompanies them. And there is always the problem with the crust. It seems to never be quite right. So there were some picky expectations.

Well these two recipes do not disappoint.

First up ... Double Lemon Bar

The traditional lemon bar was found through this blog and she found it here.

We really like this one. It did not have that turn-offish-eggy smell, and the crust was just right. For Jay that either makes or breaks the whole thing. I mixed all the ingredients for the crust in the 9x13 pan and then used a rolling pin to spread it out in the same pan. I think it helped me to get the crust even and helped it cook, well, more evenly. Mine definitely look more cooked than the originals do. Maybe that helped. But they did not taste overcooked. For our tastes they were just right.

Next up ... Cream Cheese Lemon Bars

This is another excellent choice. We decided that it tasted a little like a lemon cheesecake. No complaints about this one- I think I overcooked the crust a little and will cook it a little less for next time. But I don't think it affected the overall flavor. In the recipe it states to reserve part of the cream cheese mixture and you add it in the end. I really thought it did not look like it was going to be enough. But it was just right.

So in the end they are both keepers. They are really two different things. Both have lemon flavors but entirely different tastes. One is a "traditional" lemon bar and the other is more like a lemon cheesecake. Take your pick.

Cream Cheese Lemon Bars - -

1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup butter softened
1 egg
8 ounces cream cheese - softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 lemon - grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a mixing bowl blend dry cake mix, butter, and 1 egg. Press into a 9 x 13 pan, ungreased.
Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually blend in the powdered sugar. Stir in lemon peel and lemon juice until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture. Beat the remaining 2 eggs, add the vanilla, and then beat this mixture into the remaining cream cheese mixture until well blended. Spread over the cake mixture. Bake at 350° until set, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely. Spread the reserved cream cheese mixture onto the bars. Refrigerate until firm; then cut into squares and serve.

Double Lemon Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar in large bowl. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into bottom of 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Maintain oven temperature.

Beat eggs, 1 1/2 cups sugar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour and lemon peel in medium bowl to blend. Pour into crust. Bake until mixture is set, about 20 minutes. Cool.

Cut into 24 bars. Sift powdered sugar over top before serving.

Do you like lemon bars?
Would you enjoy a food taste test?


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Ohhhhh I'm so glad for this. I'm with you, the eggy stuff is not very appetizing. Thank you for going through the tests for us.

Yes, I would love a taste test if you were the one cooking.

Meghan said...

I know exactly what you mean by them being eggy. I am excited to try these. Plus I am so happy you posted another What to Eat Wednesday, I wanted to check a recipe and I had to go back on yourblog quite a ways before I could find one and then the link to the others. I guess I will just have to pin it!

Alex and Kimberly Rasmussen said...

These look so good! And such a fun thing for the family to do a taste test!!

Julie said...

Glad you're back. I've missed your sweet blog.

vgsmom said...

I had to sneak a little tiny bite of each of Jenna's and.....drum roll please....I liked the cheesecakey one...both were wonderful...but that one was just a little bit better for me.