Last week Monday I hosted book club at our house. I love book club! We have a lovely time discussing whatever book we happened to have read, something I always find very edifying and interesting. Then, we allow ourselves hours to talk about whatever we want. Most of us are mommies, so a night away from the kids to be spent with girlfriends is a precious thing. We almost always find ourselves talking and having fun until at least 11. Oh, the conversations we have...
Since it is just us girls, I took the opportunity to make and serve some of my favorite spring "girly" desserts. I served these two recipes, along with a plate of fresh whole strawberries. Mmmm.... perfect.
Lemon Bars Deluxe
2 1/4 cup flour, divided
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh-squeezed is best, of course!)
sifted powdered sugar
Combine 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup pwd. sugar; cut in butter with pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press mixture into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Combine remaining 1/4 cup flour and baking pwd. in a small bowl; stir well. Combine next three ingredients and stir into flour mixture. Pour over prepared crust. Bake at 350 for another 22-25 min. or until set and lightly browned. Cool completely. Sprinkle lightly with pwd. sugar. Cut into 24 bars.
Almond Mini-Chip Shortbread
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan. In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add flour and almond extract; blend well. Stir in chocolate chips. Pat into prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown.Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut into bars. Cool completely in pan. NOTE: it is very important that you DO cut them after the 10 minutes. If you wait until they are completely cooled, they will not cut-- they'll crumble.
And there you have it-- two tasty desserts that are perfect for spring, I think. There is something about lemon and almond that make me think of lighter, warmer weather. Why don't you pour yourself a nice glass of iced tea and sit on the patio to enjoy these-- doesn't that sound lovely.