Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Art of Bringing Dessert

Whenever someone invites me to their home or to a party, the first words out of my mouth are always "What can I bring?"  I tend to feel uncomfortable showing up empty-handed, even when I visit family and close friends (kind of weird since I never expect people to bring anything when they come to our place for a visit!).  Plus, I think it's just plain nice to bring baked goods when you are meeting up with people.  And before you ask, I do realize that (1) this makes me sound a bit crazy; (2) I'm probably really annoying my loved ones with my constant dessert offerings; and (3) I kind of follow the social rules of a 1950's housewife.

This weekend was humid, just like the last hurrah of summer should be.  For the long weekend, we had plans to see friends and family so I decided to make some bar type treats for each gathering.  On Saturday, I made delicious blondies (I always use this adapted recipe from Smitten Kitchen and add pecans and chocolate chips) and I'm happy to say they were all gone by the time we headed home.  On Sunday, I decided to try my luck with homemade lemon bars, having bought a few bags of lemons at Trader Joe's the night before.  I've only made them once before and because I baked them too long, the top fruit layer was a weird, rubbery texture.

After squeezing lemons until my fingers were pruney and itchy from the citric acid, I was determined not to overbake them this time.  Once the top layer seemed to be set, I pulled them from the oven and let them cool.  They were perfect lemon squares, complete with sprinkled confectionery sugar, and best served when cold, I discovered.  Again, they were devoured at dessert time, but I managed to take a few home at the end.

I guess what it comes down to is that I love that I have old-fashioned tendencies; I like spending time in the kitchen, with or without an apron, getting my hands dirty with flour and chocolate and butter, and concentrating on creating something scrumptious, even if I am reading the recipe from a computer screen like a true twenty-first century girl.

Photo of my lemon bars on a pretty plate

Top image via from

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