Friday, June 1, 2007

Lemon Bars

This is my most popular and most-requested recipe (butter cake is a close second). I got it from Mom's cookbook, and I believe it's the Nordstrom recipe, but I'm not sure. I go heavier on the lemon juice because we like them a little more lemony. GOOD STUFF!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. grated lemon rind (optional, I never add this)
1/3 cup lemon juice
Powdered sugar

Combine 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup powdered sugar (I don't sift). Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resemles coarse meal.

Spoon flour mixture into an ungreased 13x9x2 in. metal cake pan (I use one with a plastic cover for easy transport later). Press the mixture down into an even crust with fingertips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is lightly browned (if the crust is uneven, it will overcook in certain spots so be diligent).

While the crust is baking, combine the remaining 1/2 cup flour and baking powder, set aside. Combine eggs, 2 cups sugar, lemon rind if desired, and lemon juice (I use at minimum 1/2 cup. I wouldn't recommend using more than 2/3 cup). Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture with a whisk, and pour over baked crust.

Return pan to oven and bake for another 25 mins at 350 degrees (until lightly browned and set). Cool on a wire rack (I have stuck it in the fridge to cool it faster too). Dust lightly with powdered sugar before cutting into squares. Delish!

Make Your Own Pancake Mix from RealSimple Magazine

This mix has made the best pancakes... and it's a lot cheaper than buying Bisquick! Everyone loves the result, including Henry and Juicy, who have come to expect their miniature "puppy pancake" when John and I sit down to eat ours.

8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Transfer to a large-mouthed sealable jar or a large resealable plastic bag. May be stored in the pantry up to 6 months.

To make pancakes (makes enough to feed 4, we usually make a half recipe):

Place 2 1/2 cups pancake mix in a large bowl. In a small separate bowl, whisk together two eggs 1 3/4 cold cups milk, and 4 tablespoons butter melted and cooled (I use room temperature vegetable oil and get the same result). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Gently stir until thorougly combined but DO NOT OVERMIX. You want some lumps. Let the batter sit for 5 mins so that baking powder can do its work. Use a measuring cup to pour out 1/2 to 1/2 cup of batter on a clean, hot, medium-heat buttered skillet. Flip when the pancake is dotted with airholes throughout. Once you've turned the pancake, wait about 2 minutes and press lightly on the center of the pancake with spoon. If it feels mushy, it's not done, but if it springs back it's done. EAT!!

Pumpkin Bread

This is another recipe from one of Mom's old church cookbooks. Tiffany LOVES this stuff. Super easy recipe, just make sure to mix in a huge bowl (I use our popcorn bowl, it's the only one that will fit all the batter because this makes 2 loaves). The book's credit is: Linda Murray, another St. Andrew's lady.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp. soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
16 oz. pumpkin (1 can)
1 cup cooking oil
2/3 cup water
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (not oil) and flour 2 loaf pans. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups. Combine all ingredients. Beat at low speed until moistened. Beat a medium speed for 3 minutes. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cool five minutes. Remove from pans.

Banana Bread

This is one of Mom's classic church cook book recipes. She's probably made it hundreds of times and I've made a few loaves myself when the bananas don't get eaten...John just loves it! The book's credit is: Rini Fuller, probably a lady who went to St. Andrew's Presbyterian in Raleigh, N.C. I'll admit straight-away that I never, ever sift...I don't have a sifter!! It still tastes great!

1 3/4 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/3 cup oil
4 mashed bananas

Use old, over-ripe bananas (almost rotten). Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sift dry ingredients together. Combine eggs, oil, and mashed bananas; add to dry ingredients and beat until smooth. Bake in greased loaf pan for 60 mins. Cool thoroughly before slicing. NOTE: Over-ripe bananas may be purchased at mark-down price then frozen in their skins till ready for use. Thaw on a plate.