Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Savory Dutch Baby Pancake


I'm often torn between having something sweet or savory for breakfast.  The simple solution to that, of course, is to have both!  This morning I made a double batch of dutch baby pancakes.  I split the batter in half and added 1/2 cup of grated cheddar cheese to one half.  What resulted was a slightly cheesy flavor infused with the usual sweet pancake batter.  I like the browned cheesy bits on the surface of the pancake, but the batter base was sweeter than I would have preferred.  If I do a double batch of sweet and savory pancakes again, I'd add the sugar to the sweet pancake after splitting the batter in half.  Or another solution would be to make the cheesy batter on its own, decreasing the sugar and adding a bit more salt or other savory herbs.  All in all, still tasty and I'll let you know how it goes with a few modifications next time.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Coconut Lemon Bars

lemon bars desserts

It's hard finding a lemon bar recipe that has just the right balance of sugary sweetness and lemony flavor without being too sour or sickening sweet. I got this lemon bar recipe from a good friend and have been using it ever since.  I think the best part is actually the shortbread crust, which holds up its buttery cookie texture while cradling the lemon custard filling.  Out of curiosity I sprinkled a layer of shredded coconut on top before baking.  What resulted was a nice toasty, chewy coconut layer added to a well-balanced lemony treat!

Lemon Bars 
Makes 16 pieces

8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8"x8" square pan along the bottom and up all 4 sides with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Crust: Cut butter into chunks and melt in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25-30 min, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in the center.
  3. Filling: While the crust is baking, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. When the crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300 F and slide the rack out without removing the pan. Pour the filling over the hot crust. If using, sprinkle shredded coconut evenly over the top.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped. Set on a rack to cool completely in the pan. 
  5. Lift the ends of the foil or parchment liner and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into sixteen 2-inch bars. May be stored, airtight, in the fridge. Lemon bars keep well for about 3 days; after 3 days the crust softens but the bars still taste quite good for the remainder of a week.