Freshly made lemon bars make for an excellent comfort food. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

Freshly made lemon bars make for an excellent comfort food. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

THE COOKING HOBBYIST: When life gives you lemons, make lemon bars

AUGUST IS A difficult month. I don’t know why, but this seems to be true every year.

This August is proving to follow the same trend for me, beginning with the weather we’ve been experiencing.

It’s been so humid that I’ve had trouble sleeping the past couple of weeks. But we’re not getting the warm summer temperatures that make the humidity worth it. Mid-60 degree weather in August is just not summer weather.

In fact, I distinctly remember thinking “fall came early” on Aug. 1 when I went out to my car for work because the morning was so mild.

On top of that, a friend of mine learned bad health news, family drama is piling up and there are anniversaries of sad happenings this month, both on the national and personal levels.

So, all-in-all, August is never a good month.

I tend to respond to tough times with an ostrich approach: head in the pillows while I wallow. I can’t do that all the time, of course, because life must continue to be lived, but when I can, I want to be in bed.

One thing that helps keep me out of bed is comfort food. I know I wrote last month about eating right to feel right and all of that is still true, but comfort food has always and will always have a place in my stomach.

I’ve also previously written about my love of all foods lemon.

And that’s how I decided to write about lemon bars this month.

Lemon bars, to me, are a delicious, happy treat to eat. The lemon reminds me of sunny, warm days while the sugar content sends my brain into happy mode.

I got this recipe a few years ago from a friend of mine. I’m incredibly biased in admitting now that I think these are the best lemon bars ever.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Lemon bars

Crust:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter, chilled

Topping:

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Powdered sugar for dusting

To make the crust, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then grease a 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch pan. I used a glass dish about that size. If you want thicker lemon bars, use a smaller pan and adjust baking times accordingly.

In a large bowl, mix together flour and powdered sugar. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Gently press the mixture into the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

To make the topping, beat together the eggs and add sugar and lemon juice. I happened to have two lemons in my house when I made this so I added lemon zest and used freshly-squeezed juice.

Add flour and baking powder to the egg mixture and mix well.

When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the topping over it so the crust is fully covered. Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the edges are a dark golden brown.

Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

Cool, then cut into bars.

________

Emily Hanson is a copy editor/paginator for the Peninsula Daily News. She is also a beginning baker and clumsy cook. She can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 56050 or [email protected] dailynews.com.

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