Sunday, March 29, 2009

Creamy Lemon Bars

These were a delicious spin on an old favorite! They are particularly good after being refrigerated overnight.

Creamy Lemon Bars
-Alyssa Griffeth-
20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
½ c. flour
¼ c. firmly packed brown sugar
¼ c. cold butter
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. grated lemon peel, divided
¼ c. fresh lemon juice (don’t even think about opening a bottle!)
¼ tsp. Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside. (The foil isn’t too pretty, but it makes clean-up and cutting the bars a cinch!)

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, ½ cup flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.
While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight. These bars improve with time. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator.
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