Monday, October 26, 2009

One order of sunshine, coming right up!


This month of October has been a rainy and dreary one. Thanks to all the rain, we have had some nice, cool autumn days. Although I haven’t posted in almost a month, it has been a busy month for baking and photo projects. The fall weather has made me want to bake more than ever, so I will have several recipes to share in the coming weeks.

Since the sunshine has left us for the time being, I have found a dessert that is as close to sunshine as you can get without getting your retinas burned. It has a bright, lemony flavor, and uses one of my favorite ingredients, cream cheese. The recipe can be found here, but I added my own lemon twist by adding a fancy little blob of lemon buttercream and lovingly grated lemon zest on top. I can’t leave well enough alone!

Recipe for Lemon Chess Squares (from Proctor Silex website):

1 pkg. (18 oz.) yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 box (1 lb.) confectioner's sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl combine dry cake mix, 1 egg and butter using electric beater. Mix until combined into a dough. Pat dough into ungreased 9x13-inch pan.

With same mixing bowl and same beaters (not necessary to wash), beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs and extracts, and beat until well blended.

Pour this batter over top of dough in pan.

Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars.

For Lemon Buttercream:

1 stick softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 Tbsp. of Lemon Curd (optional) - This can be found in jars in the baking section of your supermarket. I used "Dickinson's" brand.

Whip butter and sugar together. Add extracts and lemon curd. If too thick, you can add milk to thin out. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. I made mine thick enough to pipe with a piping tip.

Garnish with grated lemon zest.

You can also experiment with other cake mixes and extracts/flavorings.

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