Friday, April 2, 2010

52 Cookies - Chapter 13

When I stumbled across this week's cookie recipe, I knew I had to make them.  And soon.  They are the perfect little springtime treat.  Anything with lemon is perfect for spring or summer.  I also knew I'd have a winner with Evan.  Evan loves all things lemon.  He's become quite the picky eater in the last couple of years.  It is so frustrating when at one time, he was a rather adventurous little eater, eager to try new things and eat foods that I knew most kids his age wouldn't touch.  As my firstborn, I did all those things that you read about in magazines that you should do when introducing new foods.  Offer vegetables before fruits so they don't develop a preference for the sweet from the beginning.   If he refused something, I would continue to offer it since all the "experts" had "evidence" that it takes up to 10 offerings of a food before a child will finally accept it and come to "love it."  I will admit, I was a bit boastful at times about his healthy eating habits.  He even requested sweet potatoes for his birthday party meal when he was four years old.  Gone are those days.  Now, it's burgers, pizza, and tacos that please him most.  I wonder if he were living in a controlled environment, if this would still be the case.  You know.  If we lived like hermits and he didn't know any better or didn't have the influence of peers.  They all worship at the burger and fry alter it seems.  Evan and Jenna both have talked about how kids in the cafeteria at school will make fun of what other children bring to school in their packed lunch.  "Your tuna sandwich stinks!"  "I can't believe you eat green peppers!"  "You like brown rice?!  Yuck!"  Thankfully, Jenna is sticking with the healthy food choices.  I hope she continues to do so.  Owen.  He's a wash on any given day.  Time will only tell how he'll interpret the food pyramid. 

And now, without further delay.  I give you...

Creamy Lemon Crumb Squares
Here's what you need:
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon

Here's What You Do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the softened butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl until well combined.  Sift the flour, salt and baking powder and now add the oats.  Slowly, with the mixer on low, add the oats and flour mixture.  Take an 8x11 pan and press half of the oat mixture in the bottom.  I would recommend lining your pan with foil first.  I always do this and did not today and regretted it afterward.  I don't know why I didn't think of it.  It was probably because I was making these cookies this morning while I was eating my breakfast, preparing breakfast for 2 children and doing laundry.  I'm usually pretty good at multi-tasking but I had a lapse there.  Fortunately, these cookies come out of the pan very easily.  So, all was not a loss.  Back to cookie-baking...Mix together the sweetened condensed milk, lemon zest and lemon juice.  I bought one large lemon thinking surely I would be able to squeeze half a cup of juice out of it.  I fell short a bit and finished it off with juice from a bottle.  Do yourself a favor and buy two lemons so all of it can be fresh-squeezed.  There really is a difference in the flavor.  Be sure to get this completely stirred together.  Using a small whisk might make this task a little bit easier for you.  Pour this mixture onto the top of the crumb crust.  Be sure to evenly spread it to the edges.  Now, carefully sprinkle the remaining oats crumb mixture on top.  Do not press it down into the lemon filling.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crumb topping is golden brown.  20 minutes did the trick for me.  Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.  Cut into squares and then move it to the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  Serve these sweet little treats cold.  They are messy and crumbly...they are called crumb squares after all!  This is a new cookie to add to your repertoire of last minutes cookies.  I always have these ingredients on-hand.  Sometimes I don't have a lemon, but if not then use limes.  I love limes and almost always have one or two of those around!  This recipe comes courtesy of Ree Drummond on her Pioneer Woman blog.  If you have never checked it out, do so.  She home-schools her 4 children on a ranch in Oklahoma, is a self-taught photographer with great tips on her blog and recently published her very first cookbook. 

Wherever you are this Easter weekend, whoever you are with, please remember the wonderful story that Easter is. 

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