Triple Citrus Bars

Back in April, I made key lime pie bars and I loved them so much, I ate most of them myself (almost half while taking the pictures). Embarrased smile At the bottom of the recipe, there was a variation for triple citrus bars that also sounded delicious, but I didn’t have the lemons and oranges.  So, I stuck with the lime and bookmarked these to make some other time.   Tonight we had a bunch of people over for a Burbs viewing party (how awesome is that?) and so I made the “god damn brownies”, Baked of course.  I thought these citrus bars would be the perfect non-chocolate dessert to serve with the super rich fudgy brownies. And, that way, I couldn’t eat them all this time.

These bars are really easy to make.  The hardest and most time consuming part is collecting up all the zest and all the juice.  But, I loved the contrast of the tartness from the lime and lemon with the sweetness from the orange.  The flecks of orange, green and yellow zest looked so pretty against the cream colored base.  So, it is well worth the effort.  I really enjoyed the animal cracker crust as opposed to the usual graham cracker. Its more neutral flavor really allows the citrus flavors to sing.  Then you have the creaminess from the condensed milk.  Mmmm…condensed milk.  Am I the only one that could eat a can of this stuff with a spoon?

I’m sure you have had lemon bars a million times.  And, they are delicious, one of my favorites.  But, next time you have a taste for citrus…change things up a bit and try these triple citrus bars. You won’t be sorry.

Triple Citrus Bars

Yield: 8 x 8 pan (9 to 16 bars depending on how you cut them)

For the crust:

5 oz animal crackers

3 tablespoons  brown sugar

pinch salt

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly


2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest

pinch salt

1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg yolk

6 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with 2 pieces of foil perpendicular to each other, leaving overhang on all 4 sides.  Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

For the crust:  Pulse animal crackers in the food processor until broken down, ~ 10 pulses. Process the crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds (you should have about 1 1/4 cups crumbs). Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, 10 – 12 pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with fingers). Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, ~ 10 pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.

For the filling:  While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zests, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add the condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain.  Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the 3 juices and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).

Pour filling into crust; spread to the corners and smooth the surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

To serve, loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions. Cut the bars into 16 squares.  Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 2 days; the crust will soften slightly. Let the bars stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.

Source:  More Best Recipes


Lemon Thyme Bars

Jill, from JBean Cuisine, chose baking with fresh herbs as this month’s theme for What’s Baking.  I have never cooked with, let alone baked with, a fresh herb, so I was excited for the challenge.  I had my husband pick me up some thyme because originally I was going to add it to some cheddar biscuits.  But, I made scones for breakfast that morning and since biscuits are similar, I really didn’t have a taste for them anymore.  I definitely want to make those biscuits later (Of course I’ll share :D), but what do I do with the thyme now?   Dessert to me seems a bit weird.  I know that adding herbs to desserts has become quite popular, but I haven’t tasted one yet.  So, why not go the dessert route and try something totally new.  I also had some lemons and from what I have read, thyme and lemon are a great flavor combination.

In my search for a recipe, I came across Giada’s glazed lemon thyme bars that got great reviews and they looked delicious.  The dough is kind of like a shortbread, though less crumbly, scented with lemon and thyme.   The thyme was interesting to work with since I wasn’t quite sure how to handle it.  I tried to run my thumb and index finger first up the stalk and then down the stalk, but either way, they just kept breaking.  So, I just pulled the leaves off one by one…which took forever.  I’m sure there is a better way.  If anyone has any good tricks, I’d love to know!  The leaves are so tiny, they weren’t so easy to chop either.  So, I just kept mounding them up and running my knife through them.  It seemed to do the trick.  The glaze is simply lemon juice and powdered sugar, so it has a nice pucker to it.  What you end up with is a pretty,  grown-up tasting bar- the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea.

Lemon Thyme Bars


1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves   I used 1 TBSP

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

I added the zest of about 1/2 a lemon.


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish.  I used a metal 8 x 8 pan, sprayed with Pam for baking.  Next time I would add a parchment liner to make them easier to remove and cut evenly.

In a small bowl combine flour, thyme and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 stick of butter and powdered sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. The dough is very sticky, so using damp fingers (dip your fingers in a bowl of water), press the dough into the prepared pan. I also used a wet butter knife to make them as smooth as possible. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Cool for 30 minutes.   Because I used a metal pan, I baked them at 350F for about 25 minutes.


In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled crust. Allow the glaze to harden, at room temperature, for at least 1 hour.

Using a metal spatula, remove the crust from the pan. Cut into 1 1/2-inch square bars and arrange on a serving platter or store airtight in a plastic container at room temperature.

Source:  Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

When I was looking for a recipe to use up my very brown bananas, I came across this recipe for blueberry muffins with doughnut topping.  Now, with a name like that, you have to agree that these muffins had to be made.   And soon. But, as was the problem with the last batch of blueberry muffins I made, no one here will eat them.  Ugh.  Luckily, I was going to my parents in the morning to help them with their garage sale.  So, I got to unload both my muffins and a bunch of the old clothes Sammie and Alex outgrew.  When I got there, my sister and her two kids attacked me for muffins before I even got in the door.  At least her kids loved them.  But, I have to admit, they mostly ate off the cinnamon sugar top, giving the half eaten bottoms to papa. 😀 My poor dad.  He didn’t even get the best part.

Like most muffins, these were simple to prepare.  You just need to make sure to mix with a gentle hand and not overdo it or you will have tough muffins.  And, no one wants that!  I love the lemon flavor in combination with the sweet blueberries.  I didn’t think just the lemon zest was enough, so I added a bit of lemon extract to make the lemon flavor a bit more pronounced.   When the muffins are warm, you dip their tops in melted butter and then roll them in cinnamon sugar.  The cinnamon sugar crust is a perfect texture contrast to the fluffy, lemon scented cake.  If you have some blueberries on hand, these are a must make.  If you don’t, buy some….

Blueberry muffins with doughnut topping

Yield: 12 muffins

2 cups (255 grams) all purpose flour
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (180ml) cold buttermilk, well shaken
3 oz. (3/4 stick/85 gram) unsalted butter, melted and tepid
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (8 oz/225g) fresh blueberries, pick over for stems

I added a few drops of lemon extract   optional

Doughnut topping:
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 oz (3/4 stick)  unsalted butter, melted-  I used 1/2 stick and it was plenty

Center rack in oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 12-cup standard muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out excess.  Or butter and flour the cups.  Or, line with fluted paper or foil liners.  Have all ingredients at room temperature except the buttermilk.

To make the muffins:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla until combined. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened.  Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture. Using a spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporate them into the batter.  The batter will be very thick,

Using an ice cream scoop ( 2 1/4 inches in diameter/#16), fill the prepared pans with the batter ¾ full. Bake the muffins until golden, spring back when gently pressed in the center, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes.  Cool in the pan just until they can be handled, 10 to 15 minutes.

Make the topping: In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time, dip the tops in the melted butter, and roll into the cinnamon sugar to coat. Place on a wire rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.  Store at room temperature up to 2 days in an airtight container.  They may be frozen up to 10 days, then thaw at room temperature for 1 to 1.5 hours.

Source:  Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker

Lemon Tea Bread

Whenever I have leftover brown bananas, I make banana bread.  So, when I had leftover lemons, why not do the same?  While this is called a bread, to me, the bread itself tasted more like a lemon scented pound cake.  The cake is moist and buttery, dotted with lemon zest.  Then, the glaze adds a nice jolt of lemon flavor, as well as sweetness.  I love how the lemon zest sugar looks on top of the bread and how it gives it more lemon taste and some texture.  Similar to pound cake, this bread tastes better the next day.  It becomes more moist and seems to absorb some of the flavor from the glaze.  I have never had Starbuck’s Iced Lemon Pound Cake, but a few of the online reviews mentioned that this bread tasted similar, but it is even better.  I’ll have to test this declaration the next time I go to Starbucks.  Regardless, this bread, cake, pound cake, whatever you want to call it, is delicious.

Lemon Tea Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons lemon rind, divided

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Beat softened butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup granulated sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon rind. Spoon batter into greased and floured 8- x 4-inch loaf pan.

Bake at 350° for 1 hour (mine only took 45 minutes…so keep a careful eye on it at about 40 minutes.)  or until a wooden pick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Stir together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth; spoon evenly over top of bread, letting excess drip down sides. Stir together remaining 1 tablespoon lemon rind and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; sprinkle on top of bread.

Source:  Southern Living October 2004

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