Every baker should have an ace in the hole. For me, that never-failing treasure is my Drunk Blonde, a whiskey-soaked butterscotch blondie. Blondies can be pretty bland, but these guys pack a punch: you better eat your share before putting them out on a a platter, because people act like hawks around these things. There’s a whole lot to like about the Drunk Blonde, but what wins me over is the lack of leavening. So many blondies aren’t much more than glorified chocolate chip cookies, and have a fluffy, cakey texture. These bare-bones blondies, lacking any leavening at all, are gooey to the point of being almost fudge-like, with the alcohol adding an extra richness. I’ve made this recipe several times, and it’s impossible to mess up. Each result has been more delicious than the last.
Let’s face it: it’s hard to mess up blueberries. It’s even harder to mess up blueberries with a crumb coating. It’s no wonder this blueberry crumble bar is so good. I had made this recipe on a whim: there were blueberries in the house, along with the rest of the ingredients. I wasn’t particularly excited about it — it was just another thing to try out. My lack of enthusiasm was a mistake, however. These bars are crunchy, crumbly, buttery, and sweet. I halved the amount of sugar in the original recipe to let the sweetness and tartness of the blueberries shine (and so I could pretend this bar is healthier than it really is). It’s probably even tastier with all the sugar. I have a bad sweet tooth, after all.
First of all, you’ll have to pardon the bad photography of these scrumptious lemon bars — in my hurry to get them into my mouth, I didn’t much bother with taking a nice photo or two. Trust me when I say that these have the potential to look much more beautiful than they do.
Full disclosure: if I have to choose between a brownie or a lemon bar, I’m going to pick the brownie every time. But it’s summer, and today something heavy and chocolatey just didn’t sound right. While taking my dog outside this morning, I noticed our Meyer lemon tree had two lemons left. I knew instantly what baking I wanted to do.
This recipe is really easy; I barely glanced at the recipe as I threw it all together, because the steps are really that simple. The end result is much more than the sum of its parts: for something seemingly so basic, the flavor is robust, sweet, and only a little bit tart. Not to brag, but both my father and the guy I’m dating (okay, admittedly not the most objective audience) said they were the best lemon bars they’d ever eaten. Even the brownie lover in me has to admit: this was just the right dessert for such a hot summer day.