Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lemon-Thyme Bars

I don't bake a lot these days because I don't like to have too many sweet treats around tempting me to eat them!  So when I do bake it's usually for a special occasion or I'm entertaining.  One dessert I've made several times over are these little lemon-thyme bars.  If you like lemon, you must try these bars.  They are loaded with lemon flavor and small enough not to feel guilty if you have one (or quite possibly three...) 

I came across this super easy recipe a few years ago from Giada de Laurentiis on The Food Network and they always get rave reviews every time I make them.  I love adding fresh, savory herbs to desserts which is common in Italian baking, with thyme being one of my favorites.
I love the smell of fresh thyme and have a huge crop of lemon-thyme growing in my garden that returns year after year.  I keep small clay pots of silver thyme around in the summertime just because I think it looks so lovely.  And of course the lemon juice and zest add intense flavor to these bars.

Lemon-Thyme Bars

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
zest of one lemon

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar
lemon zest

1.) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8 by 8-inch glass baking dish.

2.) In a small bowl combine flour, thyme and salt. Set aside.

3.) Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or hand mixer, beat together 1 stick of butter and powdered sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.

4.)  Beat in the lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.
5.) Using damp fingers, press the dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes until golden. Cool for 30 minutes.
For the glaze:
In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice (more lemon zest if desired) 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.  Cut into 16 squares.


"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Roman Poet Virgil

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