I confess, I am not a chocoholic. I used to think I was the only person in America who didn’t lust for chocolate. I like it on the outside of a Snickers bar or on the inside of an M&M, but you will never see me standing by a chocolate fountain. Oh no, I will be by the best cookie on the planet, the lemon square.
I don’t think I have ever tasted a bad lemon square. Even the ones lacking tartness are still better than nothing. Personally, I like them with a sharp lemon taste that makes the back of your tongue roll up.
This recipe was from Mom’s recipe box. She made them frequently, but not often enough in my opinion. I don’t know where it came from originally. She had written on the card, “damn fine bar”. When it came to recipes, she was not verbose. So, if you saw the word “good” in her absolutely perfect handwriting, you could feel free to give it a try.
I actually had a lemon square bake-off soon after we moved to the Island and I made the neighbors judge. I have to be honest, these did not win. My hero, Ina Garten’s lemon squares took the prize. Now if you don’t know Ina, stop reading immediately and go to the library or the Food Channel and check her out. She is amazing, but her lemon square recipe calls for at least 6 lemons, a pound of butter and considerable prep time. If it were my birthday, I’d make Ina’s, but it’s not. I want a bar I can make in half an hour start to finish. I’m kind of a lazy butt.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
½ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2/3 cup butter (1/2 Crisco)
Blend milk with lemon juice and rind and set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Blend in flour, baking powder and salt. Add oatmeal. In an 8 x 8 pan, well-greased, spread ½ crumb mixture. Top with lemon mixture and then remaining crumb mixture. Pat down lightly. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes until light brown.
Cool in pan and slice into squares. That is a layer of lemony goodness in the center kids.
* From the Recipe Box:
I loved these growing up.
Double this recipe and bake in a 10 x 15 jelly roll pan. Bake approximately 35 minutes. Since we are all lemon freaks we suddenly have twice as many! This also makes them a bit thinner which keeps them from crumbling so easily.
Not quite as good as Ina’s, but one helluva lot easier and cheaper to make.
and remember: It’s sweet when someone knows every single detail about you. Not because you constantly tell them, but because they pay attention. Big kiss, Lynn