Lightened-Up Lemon Squares

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I am on a baking mission. Some may call it ‘nesting’ although my family and friends joke we would never know the difference. While I truly love creating my own recipes, when it comes to the science of baking, and I have an urgent craving, it seems most logical to turn to people who have already perfected a certain method.

With Pinterest, Foodgawker and Google searches right at my fingertips, it’s a rarity I whip out the good ole’ cookbook to get inspiration anymore. But that’s exactly what I did. It’s actually the binder my Maid of Honor, Erin, compiled for my bridal shower–full of favorite dishes from all the lovely women in attendance. She cleverly left some blank pockets for me to slip my own ideas into, which has been a handy place to store various clippings and newspaper articles with yummy ideas I want to remember.

And so, these slim lemon squares, torn from an issue of Cooking Light, were calling my name. Especially after eating so very many indulgent desserts through the month of December. (Oh was it just a few days ago when I made those chocolate soufflés? My bad…)

I love a good lemon bar. That refreshingly sour-sweet curd-like layer marrying with a soft, nutty, cookie-cake style crust is enough to make you lick your puckered lips for more. And while the sunshiny yellow hue and bright citrus may symbolize a summery snack, it seems a dusting of confectioners’ sugar sprinkled over top can be quite symbolic of a snowy day.

Call it even and eat them year-round? I think so.

Ingredients:

*Makes 16 bars. Only 124 calories and 5 grams of fat each!*

For crust

3.4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons canola oil

Cooking spray

For Filling

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In the bowl of your food processor, combine flour,

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1/4 cup powdered sugar,

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Pine nuts,

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And salt.

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Pulse 2 times to combine.

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Add butter.

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And canola oil.

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Pulse 3 to 5 times or until mixture resembles coarse meal.

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Coat the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Press crust firmly into bottom of the pan.

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Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Then, reduce oven temperature to 325°.

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While crust is baking, in a medium bowl combine granulated sugar,

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Flour,

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Egg and egg whites,

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Lemon juice,

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And lemon rind.

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Stir with a whisk until smooth.

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Pour mixture over crust.

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Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

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Cut into 16 squares.

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Sprinkle squares evenly with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar.

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Eat and enjoy dessert on the lighter side!

Tune in to my CT Style segment tomorrow at 12:30 on News 8! 

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