Florida Lemon Squares
These are another offering from the Maida Heatter Book of Great Cookies, so generously sent to me by Cathy, who is cooking her way through the entire book over a good few years! These are coming up for her in a a month or so, so I thought she'd enjoy seeing an advance preview.
I had excess lemons, a big bag of oats and some condensed milk, so had about half the essential ingredients for this; which I've used as another offering for my Baking-For-The-Mystery-Workplace project. These are described as "rich layered bars with a baked-in lemon filling." I'm sold! I guess it's the lemons that suggest the Florida connection, as I don't think it's a state known for its wide, brown oat crops?
This slice is easy to make, and I managed to do it all in our pantry, which has not a lot of workspace - but does house the food processor and stand mixer.
I did have some iss-yoos with the texture of the pastry mixture. Mrs Maida suggests that the mixture will be crumbly, and will not hold together. Hmmm. My mixture was very thick, buttery and pliable with no trouble forming a sticky blob. She then instructs you to sprinkle the mixture. Sprinkle? Ummm. She does mean dollop or splat instead, doesn't she? I ended up having to pull off pieces of the dough, flatten them between my palms and layer them across the top; creating an interesting brown cobblestone effect.
"Rustic daahling!" you must say as you serve these up on a silver platter...
I'd be interested to know if Cathy or anyone else has this problem. Perhaps it was partly due to my oats. There is a difference between oats and oatmeal, isn't there? I used oats, but that should've made the mixture more crumbly, not less!
This is an exceedingly sweet concotion. Very small pieces; the one in the photo above would easily make 2 portions. Best served refrigerated too, when the condensed milk topping is more solid, and the cold would work to reduce some of the intense sweetness.
Read on for the recipe:
Florida Lemon Squares
From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies
1.5 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Finely grated zest 1 large lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 1/3 ounces (10 2/3 tablespoons) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup old-fashioned or quick cooking (not instant) oatmeal.
1 9X13 inch pan - greased and lined with baking paper.
Preheat oven to 350F (175C), and place a rack one-third up from the bottom of the oven.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Pour the condensed mik in to a medium bowl. Add the lemon rind then gradually add the lemon juice, stirring with a small wire whisk to keep the mixture smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl cream the butter. Add sugar and beat well. On low speed gradually add the dry ingredients, beating only until thorougly combined. Mix in the oatmeal. The mixture will be crumbly (apparently) and will not hold together (apparently!).
Sprinkle (??) slightly more than half of the oatmeal mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Pat the crumbs firmly to make a smooth, compact layer.
Pour the lemon mixture evenly over the crumb layer and spread to make a even layer. Sprinkle (dollop) the remaining crumb (dough) mixture over the lemon layer. It's ok if a bit of the lemon layer shows through in spots.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until lightly coloured.
Cool completely in pan, then refrigerate for about 1 hour or more. Lift baking paper gently to remove cake. Cut with a small, sharp knife around cake to release it. Cut into small squares and remove with a spatula.
Tagged with baking