Lemon Bars

I always wanted to be in the Olympics. During the Olympics the Cul de Sac where I live became a mini Olympic village as I would have mini Olympics with the neighbours. We had everything from high jump (three bamboo sticks made into a H shape using clothes pegs to support the horizontal bar, it would get higher as the competition went on) to soccer. The lack of essential  equipment, such as horses for dressage, never bothered us. We compromised instead or synchronized swimming we had synchronized swinging and I would challenge  anybody who doubted the competitiveness our mini Olympics. At the  end of each day medals wore awarded to those who deserved them this often resulted in great upset from other competitors.  For the Sydney Olympics I watched and re-watched Sonia take silver, shouting “Go on Sonia, Go on…..”at the re-runs. As I was only five it never dawned on me that it was the same race. I dreamed and still do of being in the Olympics only problem is I am only a month younger than Missy Franklin and I show little talent in any Olympic discipline. So I will have to put my dreams of being the next Katie Taylor (and who doesn’t want to be Katie Taylor) to bed. The main, and all important, reason being I don’t  box.  I can make really good lemon bars though, bet you the four time world champion, oylmpic gold medalist and former International soccer player can’t make a tea time treat as good as these.

I cut them when they were still hot so they crumbled, they still tasted good

Lemon Bars adapted from Leon Baking & Puddings

285g of plain flour plus 35g

80g of icing sugar

t teaspoon of salt

225g of unsalted butter

2 tablespoon of water

4 eggs

300g of sugar

120ml of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of lemon zest

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Heat the oven to 16oC

Method

First make the shortbread base. Put the 280g of flour icing sugar and cold butter in the food processer and mix until crumbly. You could do this with the back of the fork or pastry cutter (or so the Leon book tells me) Mix until it forms a ball. Add the water if necessary. Press the dough into a 30×20 cm baking tin.  Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden and set but it will still be soft as it hardens while it cools. Meanwhile beat the eggs add the sugar lemon juice and zest. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Spread on the cool shortbread and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it is just set. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into squares. Take them out of the tin to serve. When taking them out the first one will usually fall apart as it is hard to get to I just use this one as the testing one and eat it.

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It all started with a cookie ….

I began this blog back in March with a cookie recipe since then it has grown and expanded. Like this blog, this recipe for Chocolate Chip Oat Bars began with or as a cookie recipe adapted from 101 Cookbooks. I changed the recipe around and was delighted to take out of the oven the most delicious wholesome oaty cookies. I love that feeling you get when you stumble upon a new recipe to add to your collection.  I decided to make these cookies again as they are so easy, just mix all ingredient together, but I was feeling extremely lazy at the time and didn’t want to roll out each cookie individually. Instead I divided the mixture in three and pressed it into three lined loaf tins. When they came out of the oven I cut them into bars. The result was more than amazing, they were like flapjacks only they didn’t have that sickeningly sweet golden syrup taste.

Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

250g of rolled oats

125g of wholewheat flour

45g of wheat bran

2 eggs

200ml of rapeseed oil

130 of golden brown sugar

1 tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of baking powder

200g of dark chocolate chopped

1tsp of vanilla essence

50g of dessicated coconut (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180C Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Then add in the chocolate chips and mix again. Stir in the wet ingredients. Stir well with a wooden spoon to incorporate all of the dry ingredients. Divide the mixture into three and press into three lined loaf tins. Cook for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cut the loafs each into 5 bars to give you a total of 15 bars.

Variation

Instead of cooking them in the loaf tins you could spoon them out onto a tray (it makes about 20) flatten them and cook them at 180C for 15-20 minutes

Nothing beats good Friends… except a good Brownie

Due to a spanish exchange I have been separated from some of my friends reducing the amount of allies I have from 11 to 5. It wasn’t up until now that I realize how much I take my friends for granted. Despite how bitchy or irritating we become together we have each others back. We can arrive at parties in intimidating numbers. When someone messes with me I know my friends will have my back and when my friends are angry at someone they let you know. As a group we complement each other there is the friend that you spill you troubles too, who by the way is ginger, there is the funny friend who makes you laugh, who also happens to be ginger. The friend who will be honest with you no matter what, and the friend that will tell you exactly what you want to hear, the one that has amazing style and can pull anything off and the one organizes everything. As a group of girls sometimes things can get a little heated and boil out of control but so far things have always managed to cool down. I love my friends who have been so good to me, so for that reason I dedicate this brownie recipe (which I use to make more friends) to them

Friendship Brownies

90g of plain chocolate

150g unsalted butter

125g of plain flour

15g cocoa powder

1/2 tsp of baking powder

150g of caster sugar

150g of soft light brown sugar

1 pinch of salt

2 eggs


1tsp of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160C

Grease a baking tin (20cm x 15cm) and sprinkle flour over it, tap the tin to evenly spread the flour. Break the chocolate into a bowl and add the butter. Melt over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl the heat and allow the chocolate to cool slightly. Meanwhile sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. In a third bowl beat the sugars and eggs together then add the vanilla. Fold in the melted chocolate then fold in the flour mixture. There should be no flour visable. Spoon the mixture into a tin and smooth the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before cutting into 12-16 squares.  Best served a little warm with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

Variations: You could add 100g of chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts etc.) or chocolate chips when folding in the flour. You could serve it as a cake and ice it with a chocolate ganache. Although I am not a fan some people love brownies with dried cherries, if you would like this add 75g of cherries in when folding in the flour