I never bake anymore. Probably a bit of a first world problem here, but I really do miss it sometimes.
I used to spend weekends planning, tweaking, tasting, enjoying, sharing and relaxing. I really enjoyed it and loved sending Paul off to work on a Monday with a box of treats for the office. There is something so lovely about taking the time to perfect a recipe, or coming up with a delicious sounding concept and seeing it to fruition. I still have slightly filthy dreams about my caramelised white chocolate profiteroles and people still talk about my after eight brownies with longing.
I know your probably thinking, if I love it so much why don't I just get my bum back into the kitchen and dust off the Kitchenaid? Well, I just can't dedicate the time or brain space to it! Having a toddler is 24/7. Any baking I do needs to be broken up into 10 minute bursts between singing wind the bobbin up and duplo building. On the rare occassion she does nap upstairs through the day I have to prioritise cleaning or prepping actual meals.
Sadly I just don't have enough hours in the day at the moment. I am hoping that as she gets bigger, she'll be able to help in the kitchen and will love it as much as I do.
So I guess this is a long-winded way of saying sorry for the lack of delicious baking at the moment, the recipes I will be posting will be more family-friendly meals and the odd quick bake. So, in light of this I though't I'd share the last thing I baked before I found out I was pregnant, I never got around to blogging them... Lemon Bars! They were completely delicious, the tartness of the lemon cut through the sweetness nicely and the buttery base just melts in the mouth.
The recipe is a combination of my standard shortbread recipe, and an adaptation of Joy the Baker's recipe for the filling;
Butter, for greasing
Icing sugar, to dust
350g caster sugar
Juice of 2 lemons and the zest of half
1 tsp baking powder
60g icing sugar
225g unsalted butter, softened
Butter a 25cm pan/tray and line with greaseproof paper, ideally you would like paper to stick out of the sides to allow you to lift the bars out once cooked.
Pop the base ingredients into a processor and blitz until it forms a dough ball. Or if you don't have a processor you can go old school and rub the butter into the flour/sugar and bring together into a dough. Try not to over-handle though as it is a shortbread dough so needs to stay cold to be crumbly and short.
Push the dough into the pan/tray, covering the bottom with an equal layer, it doesn't need to be completely flat but try to be as level as possible to end up with consistent bars.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice until combined, then sieve in the flour and baking powder, fold until no flour is visible.
Pour the lemon/eggy mixture over the raw dough base and bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes until set (a slight wobble in the middle is good as the residual heat will finish it off.
Once cool lift the bar out of the pan and chop into whatever size or shape you wish.
For my fellow bake-y parents, how do you find the time or energy?! I'd love to hear your tips.