Thursday, March 24, 2011

Ginger Lime Bars

So it is the 4th day of spring….and the snow is still falling here.  I hear that we don’t get much of a spring here, so I guess I will have to make my peace with that.  Apparently, it goes straight from winter to summer…..I really, really love summer here, and I do like the beginning of winter.  I just am not a fan of the never-ending onslaught of snow.  But, anywhere I have lived…by the time it is the end of a season, I am so unbelievable sick of that season.  And yes, last September, I was dying for fall/winter.  So I think you can see what I am getting at.  I would hate the end of winter no matter where I lived.  Whew-that was a whole lot about Courtney’s feelings about seasons.  Probably more than you ever wanted to know;)
On the bright side, we are super excited because our episode of Reno Style that we filmed last week should be airing tonight. And, we have sold our products to two more stores!  We will be carried at a really cute store in the Wisconsin Dells called Market Square Cheese.  Our other new store that we will be carried in is called Evergreen Gifts.  It is in Park Rapids, Minnesota.  We are so excited because we are in 4 states now!  I’m goin’ global, baby!;)
So just like Tuesday, I am going to show you another “warm weather” recipe.  I keep telling myself that if I make this kind of food, I can lure spring to me.  Kind of like…If I make it, spring will come.  Yep, just like “If you build it, they will come.”  Quick-what movie??
I am going to show you how to make my Ginger Lime Bars.  They are a version of a typical lemon bar.  I read somewhere that “any Southern woman worth her salt” has her own lemon bar recipe.  Of course, since I pretend that I am a southern belle, I had to create my own.  I added ginger and use limes instead of lemons because I gotta be different!  That’s just how I roll;)
To make my bars, I use butter, flour, sugar, eggs, ground ginger, powdered sugar, crystallized ginger and a combination of real limes, and lime juice from a bottle.  These bars have a shortbread crust and a yummy lime filling.  I use a combo of real limes and lime juice strictly because I am lazy.  Have you ever tried to juice a lime?  It is near impossible.  You can squeeze the livin’ daylights out of it and get like a ¼ teaspoon of juice.  I still used a few real ones, mainly because I want their zest….But I don’t have the biceps to use all real limes.
Let’s start with the crust.  I make mine in the food processor, but you can totally stir this together by hand.  I just tossed the softened butter, sugar, flour and ground ginger into the bowl of the processor.  I pulsed it until the dough came together a little bit.
When the dough is ready, it will clump together.  You will be able to press it into a crust, like I am doing above.  I dump this into a 9x13x2 baking dish.  You don’t need to grease the pan.  This crust has plenty of butter in it, so sticking won’t be a problem.
I pressed the crust into the pan, evenly.  I also went up the sides a bit.  You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to make sure it is even and really pressed down.  Then, I baked it at 325 degrees for about 23 minutes, or until it was starting to brown.  Don’t bake it for too long….remember, it still has to bake with the filling in it!
While the crust is baking….it’s time to make the filling.
So easy….all I do is whisk together more sugar, the eggs (already slightly beaten), a bit of flour, lime zest and lime juice.  Whisk until smooth…..seriously….it needs to be smooth.  The flour might want to clump, but just keep whisking.  This filling will be yellow.  The only green part of the lime is the zest;)  So if you are expecting green…..sorry.
You can just barely see the clumpy flour in the picture above.  I kept whisking.
Once the mixture was smooth, I poured it into the crust.  Then, I put it back in the oven for another 25 minutes.  The top will look “set” when it is done.  It shouldn’t be too jiggly.
While the bars are cooking, I cut my crystallized ginger into even smaller pieces.  You can find this in most stores.  It might be called “candied ginger”.  It is just pieces of ginger cooked and coated in sugar.  I found mine with the spices.  It will come in small pieces, but I like to make them even smaller.
Once you take the bars out of the oven, sprinkle the ginger over the top, right away.  Hold off on the powdered sugar.  If you put that on now, it will melt right in.  But the ginger should go on now.
I use a little strainer to dust the powdered sugar on.  If you have a sifter, that would work too.  Let the bars cool for about 20 minutes before you top with sugar.  Also, let them cool for close to an hour before you try to cut these guys.  The middle will be too gooey if you cut early.
Pretty!!  I think that southern women like to serve these at any kind of party.  I’d like to think that I could walk into any party in maybe Georgia or South Carolina and serve these.  Hopefully they would think I was their people;)
The ginger in these bars is such a welcome addition.  Ginger and limes are great friends.  If you don’t like ginger as much as I do….first off, you are kinda weird.  But, you could always cut the amount in the crust down to a couple of teaspoons.  And of course, you could leave the ginger off of the top.  The bars will still be amazing!
See you next week!
Ginger Lime Bars
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon lime zest
¼ cup lime juice
Crystallized ginger for top
Powdered sugar for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees
In bowl of food processor, place softened butter, 2 cups flour, ½ cup sugar and ground ginger.  Pulse until dough comes together.  Press dough into un-greased 9x13x2 baking pan.  Bake at 325 degrees for 23 minutes, or until crust is starting to brown.
While crust is baking, whisk together 2 cups sugar, beaten eggs, 4 tablespoons flour, lime zest and lime juice.  Pour into pre-baked crust.  Bake an additional 25 minutes, or until filling is set.
Immediately top with crystallized ginger.  Once the bars have cooled for at least 20 minutes, top with powdered sugar.  Let cool for an additional 40 minutes before cutting.

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