Sunday, March 22, 2015

Lavender Lemon Bars - My New Obsession

I remember both the first time I tried lemon bars and the first time I tried lavender.

Lemon bars take me right back to the same after-church potlucks that egg salad sandwiches do.
I have absolutely no idea who always brought them, but I do know I probably owe the congregation an apology for finishing off far more than my share.

Lavender?  Well, that takes me to Asheville, NC.  My 32nd birthday to be exact.
My husband and I snuck away for the night- a somewhat surprise.

And do you know what he did?
He fed me.  The man knows the way to my heart ;-)
Boy was I having a bad hair day...but at
least it led to my crazy hat purchase :-)
There was lunch at Sunny Point Cafe.  There was chocolate while wandering downtown.  Then there was dinner at the chef's table at Rezaz, followed by champagne and junk food in our room.  Brunch the next morning was at Chorizo, lunch was at Chai Pani, and our snack was at The Gourmet Chip Company.

Lets just say it says something about my love of food that I remember all of those details almost a year later!

Anyway, lets jump to that last one- The Gourmet Chip Company.
We had The Napa- honey lavender drizzle, blue cheese crumbles, and sea salt on house made kettle chips.

That's what I remember.
It opened my eyes.

My next stop before we headed over the mountains on the drive home?
The spice store.  I needed some culinary lavender, stat.

Do you know where that little pouch of lavender has been sitting for almost a year now (shhhh don't do the math...that can't possibly mean I'm almost 33...)?

Yep.  In the cabinet, with the rest of my spices.

Until a few days ago, that is.

It struck me suddenly, though I guarantee I'm not the first to have the idea- Lavender Lemon Bars.
They just had to happen.  Pretty much immediately.

I threw these together and not only were they pretty they were absolutely delicious- lets just say I sent a lot of them to work with my husband to get the extras out of the house.  I would have annihilated them if I kept them around!

I considered making them purple to reflect the lavender flavor, but I was worried they might turn out a funky, murky color- let me know if you go for it, lets be honest- I was worried about my pictures... in the end, I went with traditional yellow food dye, but I did top each bar with a little pinch of lavender flowers to finish them off.

I'm totally on a lavender kick now, I can't wait to try out more recipes with the light, floral notes it adds.  Summer is coming- lavender lemonade anyone?

Lavender Lemon Bars

1/4 C butter, softened
3 Tbsp white sugar
1/2 C flour
2 eggs
2/3 C white sugar
2 Tbsp flour
3 tbsp lemon juice
Yellow food coloring
2 tsp culinary lavender, crushed
Lavender flowers and powdered sugar for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Combine butter, 3 Tbsp sugar, and 1/2 C flour until combined.  Lightly spray bottom and sides of 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.  Press flour mixture into bottom of pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until firm.

2. Whisk together eggs, remaining sugar, remaining flour, lemon juice, food coloring as desired, and 2 tsp crushed lavender.  Pour over crust and bake for 20 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar and slice into squares.  Top each square with a sprinkling of lavender for garnish.

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