Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lavender Lemon Bars for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook Off

This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook Off, hosted by Heather at Girlichef and sponsored by Hyperion, who provided participants with a complimentary copy of the book. 
It's week 3 in the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight, the week I've been waiting for: Blogger's Choice. For the past two weeks, my fellow participants in the cook off and I have been baking a selection of recipes from the Joy the Baker Cookbook (just released!) chosen by our hostess, Heather at Girlichef.

You may recall that I've tried my hand at the chocolate fudge brownies, flax seed crackers, and mini chamomile cakes. They've all been a smashing success, but I have been itching to pick whatever I want from the book. And the choice was a no-brainer: these lavender lemon bars. Surprised I didn't choose one of the book's savory dishes when I had the chance? Well, I'm tricky like that.

In fact, when it comes to sweets, the one flavor profile I have something of a weakness for involves anything tart - like this lovely lemon curd. And I adore lavender - witness my lavender, cardamom, and cracked black pepper drop scones, lavender quick bread, and lavender whoopsie cookies with lemon mascarpone filling, to name a few!

And these bars didn't disappoint. In fact, they're the only treat I've made from the book so far that I found it dangerous to be around. I even sneaked a couple extra before packing them off to work with Poppa Trix. Let's just say they awaken my slumbering inner sweet tooth.

Lavender Lemon Bars
makes one 9 by 13 inch pan
recipe reprinted with permission from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

For the crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender *Note: I used 1 full teaspoon

For the lemon filling:
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 - 3 lemons)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
Powdered sugar and dried lavender for topping

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 by 12 inch pan and set aside. 

To make the crust: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the bowl and add flour, salt, and lavender, Beat on low speed until dough just comes together. Stop the mixer, remove the bowl, and incorporate the rest of the ingredients with a spatula.

Dump the crust mixture into the prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough into the bottom of the pan. bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until slightly browned. [Note: I double panned to prevent a burned crust]

To make the filling: while the crust is baking, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until light and pale. Add flour, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Whisk until completely blended and incorporated. 

Remove the baked crust from the oven and immediately pour the filling over the hot crust. Return to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned around the edges and no lob]nger jiggly in the center. 

Cool completely in the pan. Cut into wedges and dust with sifted powdered sugar and dried lavender buds. To store lemon bars, place in an airtight container in layers, separated by was paper. Lavender lemon bars will last, in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to 4 days.

Or not.
I'm very curious to see what my compatriots have chosen to make from the book - if you're curious, too,  just follow the link to Girlichef below. 

Now go enjoy some more food porn!

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*
JTB Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off Banner


  1. Ooooooh these look so pretty. I can't believe you've made so many things with lavender, I've never used it in anything. I love how sleek and delicate these bars look, I'm not surprised you couldn't keep your hands off them, great choice!

  2. Ha ha, I made the same thing. I love lemon and all citrus things. I also wish I had increased the lavender but they were still awesome!
    Great post..

  3. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I, too, am a sucker for lemony dessert-things. And I have this one marked to make...I can almost taste the bright citrus with a hint of lavender just looking at your beautiful photos. Great choice :D

  4. In reading this I would say that you are more talented than most. Your listing of all the lavender recipes on your site really does impress. To me it is a difficult item to use in baking for it is usually recognized as a scent for soap. I will have to try at least one of the recipes, I am intrigued. Glad you are enjoying the Spotlight event!

  5. I really don't know what happened but previously I left a terribly funny comment here. I don't think you are editing me? I came back to see what you might have said about it as surely you would have but now I don't see it. Blogger eats another one.

    What is an "onfortun usiongni" anyway? Sounds like something I would want to make a pasta out of.

  6. The sound heavenly! Lavender and lemon. My tastebuds are drooling!

  7. I've never baked with lavender before so am really intrigued! Great choice for this week:-)

  8. Mmm I've had lemon bars before but never with the lavender... sounds very interesting!

  9. I have a stash of lavender I bought last summer...and a fresh bag of meyer lemons. Your beautiful bars have me thinking... :) Theresa

  10. Trixie Girl, Is it any surprise that I HAD to come visit when I saw the sweet title on the blog post heading! These look and sound delish! I must get a copy of this book.

  11. You are so talented and gifted everything in any cooking challenge or recipe you can make better than anyone!

  12. These are beautiful! The only times I've ever used lavender is in Herbes de Provence--never by itself. I bet the lemon and lavender go so well together.

  13. I went to Joy's book signing last night in Pasadena. Of course the books sold out before I even got my hands on one. GREG

  14. These bars look so pretty with the pretty purple lavender sprinkled on top. So gorgeous!

  15. beautiful job and a nice choice, love a good lemon anything...
    your baking classes shine through with hidden suggestions on your own techniques, and we are appreciative of that... hope your week is going great...

  16. Num, girl. I'm with you... love the lemon and lavender combo. It smells like spring and clean goodness.

  17. These are just lovely, very nice with lavender.

  18. You're not the oly one obsessed (can I say that?) with lavender. I've made up and posted around 8 recipes using lavender, so I'm so with you on these lovely bars! Now you have me wondering ahead if lemon, coconut and lavender bars would taste just as good? Lol, as I said....OBSESSED!! Great job here as always, Trixibelle, *she says as she wipes her drooling mouth* :).

  19. Oh wow. I love this idea. The lavender is such a lovely touch (and I'm glad you added more).

  20. I wish my sweet tooth would slumber! These look excellent. I was scrambling to get my Dorie post up for today...the onion biscuits (and advanced notice) will make next week less hectic :)

  21. Lavender is a totally unknown ingredient to me but these do look amazing. Judging by the lavender scent I imagine the contrast of flavours actually works a treat!

  22. The recipes in Joy's book have been fantastic so far and I can't wait to try these luscious lemony cookies for myself. Lovely photos.

  23. These look wonderful and so pretty! I do love lemon bars and the addition of lavender sounds lovely :)

  24. How do you "Double Pan" to prevent burning the crust on this?

    1. Hi Anonymous - to double pan, simply invert a cookie sheet and place your baking pan on top.

  25. THAnkS! So appreciate it!

  26. I made these! I love them! For the crust i used 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dried lavender, then slightly crushed the lavender with a pestle and mortar. I also topped my bars with homemade candied lemon. Absolutely delicious!