>Lemon Bars

I was having a BBQ before I left with all my friends home from college and decided upon making these because it just screams summer. These are a classic and very easy.
For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.


>Classic Vanilla Cupcakes with Sri Lanka Buttercream

I have been searching for just the right vanilla cake, and with the many different graduations and different church events I have gotten to experiment, and by far these are the best. The frosting that goes on top is a traditional easy Buttercream, and when my mum brought some cupcakes into work with this frosting, one of her coworkers said it reminded her of the frosting her mother use to make in Sri Lanka, so needless to say we call it Sri Lanka frosting now. It’s just very simple and delicious.
Vanilla Cupcakes:
3 C A.P. flour
2 ½ tsps. Baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 oz butter, room temp
1 ¾ C sugar
5 egg yolks at room temp
2 tsps. Vanilla extract
1 ½ C milk, room temp
5 egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 dozen cupcake pans with cupcake liners. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until well incorporated, then add the vanilla. Gently add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix the batter gently until smooth. Whip the eggs white with the cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks. Fold the whites into the batter. Fold gently and thoroughly. Fill cupcake liners ¾ of the way full and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely and then frost.

Sri Lanka Frosting
• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.
Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.


>Cinnamon Chip Blondies

Since my mum can’t have chocolate, I’m always trying to find a new treat for her to have. I made these just on a whim and she ended up liking them more then the snickerdoodle Blondie’s.
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter, softened
1 lb. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
11.5 ounce package cinnamon chips
1 cup chopped pecans
By mixer:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.
Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.
Add vanilla and mix.
Add flour and mix until combined.
Stir in chips and then pecans.
By hand:
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.
Stir brown sugar into softened (not melted) butter in another large bowl until butter disappears. You can use the back of your spoon to help incorporate the two together.
Add eggs one at a time to butter mixture and stir well after each egg.
Add vanilla, cinnamon chips and nuts. Mix well.
Add dry flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Make sure you don’t over bake.