Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cooking With Katch Part II: Dessert


     I love dessert. I eat dessert by pounds and handfuls and open-mouthed-mouthfuls. I love sweet things. It is not surprising that the dessert I made with Katch was completely gone by the day after she took these pictures. Only these memories stay behind. I will have to make these bars again soon. And this time, there won't be so many mistakes. But let me not get ahead of myself.

     Hi everyone! Welcome back to the Cooking with Katch feature, which I hope will become more regular. Please, feast your eyes on one day more of gorgeous pictures before we go back to me cooking at night and trying to take pictures while stirring things in pots. I'm trying to improve I promise, but I love how these pictures make the food look like it should look. I was actually really sad because I though that the food I was making would not be colorful enough for Katch to make it look pretty, but she managed to, of course.

     Wait, you ask, so what exactly is this food? It looks like lemon bars, why is there a jar of white flower petal looking things? Well, those are actually pieces of coconut. (I think they look like flower petals even if you don't...) And what I made is coconut lemon bars. The cookie dough-like crust which I am spreading out on the pan has coconut in it, which adds a delicious new flavor to a regular lemon bar.

Look it's Katch!
     The coconut lemon bars were actually quite a mess to make. I was all out of sorts because KK had just left after visiting for the weekend, and I had not organized what I was cooking. It's a good thing we went to H-Mart and I bought many lemons, because I am a miser and they were selling three huge lemons for 90 cents or something like that. KK also gave me half her jar of dried coconut, so, of course I had to cook with it right away. So what did I do? I googled coconut and lemon, and this is what I found. What could be better? Who doesn't like lemon bars? If you don't, I'm not sure if I trust you anymore...

     The other reason making these was a mess was entirely my fault. The recipe I was making the bars from used an 8 in square pan. Of course, I don't own any such thing. So, I decided to spread the dough on half of my baking sheet and use that apparatus of foil-and-loaf pan (that you can just catch a glimpse of on the right side of that picture) to make my baking sheet smaller. Of course it didn't work. Of course some of the filling dripped onto that other half of the pan. And, of course I had spread the dough further than 8 in square so the filling ended up being a lot more spread out and thin than it was supposed to be. But did it matter?

      Well, maybe in the beauty category. We worked hard to make these bars look good. Or, I tried my best to cut neat squares of them out of the pan and then Katch beautified them. But in the taste category? Even with the filling being thin, they were delicious. The coconut cookie crust underneath was not too sweet but it complimented the bright, tangy lemon beautifully. 

Do you see the filling?
     I strongly recommend making these at home (in a proper pan). They were all disappeared within 24 hours of their creation even with my mistakes. Next time, I plan on doubling the recipe and just making a baking-sheet-ful. Oh lemon bars, you are just too delicious.

Coconut Lemon Bars
Adapted from For the Love of Cooking

For the Crust: 

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Confectioner's Sugar 
1/2 tsp Sugar 
1/8 tsp Salt 
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut (or large Coconut pieces like I had which you then have to chop up) 
8 tbsp Margarine (or 1 stick butter cut into small pieces) 
1/2 tsp Vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and heavily butter an 8'' baking pan. In a large bowl, stir the cup of flour, both kinds of sugar, and salt together. Add the butter, vanilla, and coconut, mixing everything together with your hands until it is crumbly and dough-like. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan, making sure it is evenly spread. Bake it in the oven for 18-20 minutes until it is slightly golden. Then, set it aside.

Note: I added regular sugar to the dough because my coconut was not sweetened. If you buy sweetened coconut, nix that extra 1/2 tsp.

For the Filling: 

2 Large Eggs 
1 cup Granulated Sugar
2 tbsp Flour 
1/8 tsp Salt
Zest of 1 Lemon (about 2 tsp) 
1/3 cup Lemon Juice (juice of 2 lemons for me)

Make sure your oven is still heated to 350 degrees (in case you turned it off). In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt together. Then, add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix everything until it is thoroughly combined. Pour the filling over the hot crust, and bake it for 15-18 minutes until the filling sets and looks more firm. Take it out of the oven and allow it to cool on a wire rack for 10 mins. Then, cut it into squares to serve. You can top it with shredded coconut for serving.

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