Monday, December 6, 2010

Quick and Easy Lemon Squares

I attended Jenn's Holiday Party yesterday. She is so on the ball and sent the invitation out weeks ago. I, on the other hand, am not on the ball. It came down to 12:30 yesterday afternoon (the party started at 4) and I was sitting at my boyfriend's house (who happens to live across the hall from Jenn) without a plan of what to make and no supplies to make it with. While scouring the internet for recipes, my main criteria was something easy using ingredients I already had (or could find in a short period of time).

The winner was from the Pioneer Woman. (If you don't read her blog, you should. She is hilarious and has awesome recipes and giveaways!) I named off a few recipes I was considering to Kurt and he chose Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares. It's not the most seasonal dessert ever but sounded good, so I was sold. I was able to steal oats from Kurt and acquire the sweetened condensed milk and lemons from my local deli. Surprisingly, I already had everything else. Time was ticking, so I rushed home to get baking.

I normally like to take my time cooking, spread out, listen to music, and have a glass of wine. However, I was in a time crunch and running around like a madwoman. Somehow I was able to complete this recipe in the midst of doing laundry, buying wine, and tending to my neglected cat. I got halfway through the process and though that's it?! It was that simple. Next time I try this recipe, I would use less dry ingredients or more butter. My "crumb" mixture ended up more like sand. I would have liked it clumpier. Otherwise, it's great.

Lemon Crumb Squares
1-1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup oats
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice (2 medium sized lemons should yield about this much)
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix together the sugar and butter until well combined. Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder (the recipe says "sift" but I lacked the accoutrement to perform such a task and it turned out fine). Combine the butter and flour mixtures and oats. Press half the crumb mixture into the bottom of a pan. In another bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice, and zest until smooth. Pour into the pan on top of the crumb mixture. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mix on top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown. Let cool before refrigerating. It's best served chilled. Enjoy!

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