Lavender Lemon Bars

My little lavender plant is blooming, which is terrific because I’ve taken a shine to lavender in my treats.
lemon lavender bars-1
I had just bought lemons to make lemon lavender ice cream, but then one of my favorite food bloggers posted a recipe for perfect lemon bars, so I scrapped the ice cream in favor of bars.

Her description of the bars she made nails it: these are nice and lemony without being either too sweet or too tart. I left my butter in fairly large pieces, which makes the crust both flaky and a little crispy. I used kosher salt, but if you’re one of those people who hates salt in your desserts, just leave it out.

If you’ve been thinking about something sweet for the weekend, stop looking and go with these. I promise you: citrus and lavender are a match made in heaven :)


Ingredients
Crust
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon lavender flowers
1 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Filling
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, from 3 large lemons
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from 2 to 3 large lemons
1/3 cup half-n-half

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper and lightly grease the foil/parchment.
Stir together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the pieces of butter and cut it into the dry ingredients using your fingertips until only pea-sized pieces of butter remain. Fold in lavender. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.
Refrigerate for ~20 minutes and then bake until light golden brown, ~20 minutes.
While the crust is cooking, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl. When you take the crust out of the oven, whisk in the lemon zest, juice and half-n-half and then pour immediately onto the warm crust (Mel says it’s important that the crust is still warm, and I trusted her!). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake for ~20 minutes until the filling feels slightly firm to the touch. Cool the bars to room temperature, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar and cut into bars.

lemon lavender bars-6

Recipe adapted from http://www.melskitchencafe.com. I used unsalted butter, but added kosher salt to my crust, and mixed things less. I removed the salt from the filling, used half-n-half, and a little more lemon.

{Semi-Homemade} Cherry Crumble

So…I hurt my back. I went to the chiropractor several times, and eventually got clearance to return to light workouts. Just as I was feeling pretty much normal, I fell apart again. Not that I can walk all that well anyway, but top it all off with it is snowing here, and we made plans to stay in yesterday.

cherry crumble in pan Continue reading

{Green} Chocolate Smoothie

Green chocolate? you ask. Or maybe you don’t because you’re already in on the secret. One moment while I explain myself. It’s been a while since I’ve posted any food, not because I haven’t been cooking good stuff, but because I have been completely uninspired to share it. We’ve eaten lots of healthy stuff, and lots of unhealthy stuff, and I just didn’t feel like you needed to know about. But, this I feel like you need to know about.

I expect at least some of you to completely turn your noses up at this. It doesn’t sound great. But I promise you, if you like smoothies and you like chocolate, this is a winner. Heck, even Tony likes this – really likes it – not just consumes it because I made it. I would even share this with my carnivorous father. I’m not saying it tastes like a creamy chocolate milkshake, but this smoothie is thick and creamy, and super chocolaty…it’s a bit like pudding.

I double this recipe in the morning for two large smoothies, which I make in a Vitamix. You can do this in a “normal” blender if you make a smaller batch and take your time.

Also, I don’t taste it anymore because we have these every morning, but you can kind of taste the spinach the first couple of drinks. Don’t worry. You totally adjust and then it’s all yummy chocolate.
green chocolate smoothie

Ingredients
1 small handful raw cashews
1 heaping tablespoon golden flax meal (can use the same amount of flax seeds)
1-2 heaping tablespoons cocoa powder (I prefer Hershey’s Special Dark)
5 unsweetened, dehydrated dates (the ones I buy at Sam’s are still pretty soft, and small)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk of choice (We prefer vanilla almond milk)
1/2 cup water

What I mean by “handfuls” and “heaping”:

Directions
Place ingredients in blender, in the order listed. Blend until smooth. Enjoy.

green chocolate smoothie-2

Spicy Molasses Sandwich Cookies

molasses sandwich cookies

Not that I needed an excuse to share these, but did you know that today is National Cookie Day? I confess that I think pretty much every day is cookie day, but I won’t hesitate to celebrate. The thing about cookies is that you can have one and call it a sensible dessert. Or you can overindulge and call them breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not that I’ve done that. I usually get at least one real meal in on a cookie day ;) Continue reading

Chocolate Crinkle Thumbprint Cookies

We are draped in a quilt of snow, and now that Thanksgiving has passed, I can’t think of a better thing to do than bake. I can think of other things to do, but not better.  The only problem with baking loads of cookies is that there are only two of us, and I have tons of tasty ideas I want to make. Last night I settled on these chocolate crinkle cookies.
Continue reading