I like you, a shop here in Minneapolis that sells handmade goods from local and regional artists had copies of this print in their shop recently:
Image from Etsy
I’ve always loved this print because it’s so true – there’s nothing that a lemon bar can’t fix. That and because my absolute favorite VVG recipe from Grandma has always been lemon bars. Life hasn’t been giving me many lemons to speak of lately, but that didn’t stop me from making three batches of these to celebrate the end of the spring semester. I brought them in for one my classes this semester and promised my students that I would post the recipe. It’s a little late in coming to them, and to you, but I hope you’ll all enjoy some lemon bars soon!
1 c. butter
2 c. sifted flour
1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
2 c. sugar (you can reduce this by half and still be adequately sugared up, I promise)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
1/2 c. lemon juice
1/4 c. sifted flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream butter. Add flour and powdered sugar and mix. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
Combine well beaten eggs, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Mix together baking powder and flour and add to egg mixture and mix well. Spread on the hot crust layer. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Hip hip hooray! This coming week marks the last week of classes! Which marks the hopeful beginning of me cooking on a more regular basis. Actually, I probably won’t cook, or at least bake, much in the summer months because doing so turns my whole apartment into an oven. Not a pleasant experience.
I needed to bring a treat to class earlier this week and took the opportunity to pull out this VVG recipe from the recipe box Grandma gave me. I haven’t had these in years. When I described them to my neighbor she wrinkled up her nose and said, “Those sound healthy.” But when she took her first bite she exclaimed, “I thought these were going to be healthy. But they’re really good!” So there you have it. Don’t let the name of the recipe deceive you – these are not a healthy treat. In fact, with all the butter and sugar I might go so far as to suggest eating them in moderation (Note: Grandma wouldn’t make such a preposterous suggestion. She would have urged you to have another. What? You’re full? Well, just let it set and then you can have another.)
Date Bars (a Grandma VVG recipe)
1c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Crumb this together like a pie crust. Press half of mixture into a 9 x 13 greased pan.* Reserve remaining half.
1 lb. chopped dates (or 12 oz. is ok too)
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
Cook until soft. Then add a pinch of salt and a few drops of lemon juice and chopped nuts.** Cool. Spread date mixture over the mixture in the pan, then cover dates with remaining oatmeal mixture. Press lightly. Bake at 375º for 30 mins.
* Upon typing this recipe it occurred to me that I never greased the pan. Guess what? The bars did not stick to the pan. Perhaps it’s all the butter in the oatmeal mixture that saved me. Just a thought.
** I’m not exactly sure what kind of nuts or how many Grandma used. I used pecans because it’s what I had and probably used 1/3 – 1/2 c.