An adventure with winter citrus
“Well, let’s see how it goes. There’s no hurry. We’ll feel it out.”
East of Eden, John Steinbeck
The favorite cookie at my house is Chocolate Chip, preferably still warm from the oven. But my favorite cookies are Lemon Bars. Every time I have thought about trying lime, orange or Mandarin bars I always return to making Lemon Bars. I know that I might be disappointed with too much sweetness when I crave the balance of sweet and tart. Grapefruit Bars could be an option. Lots of tang, loads of zest, a serious cookie bar contender. And pink grapefruit piqued my curiosity. I thought about Pink Grapefruit Bars for a very long time. I kept making Lemon Bars. After all they are my favorite. Two batches of Lemon Bars were made during our annual cookie baking frenzy. After the holidays I wasn’t looking for another batch of Lemon Bars, I’d had my fill. Maybe, just maybe it was time to discover a new bar cookie.
One of the nicest things about winter is the citrus harvest. So many juicy choices! With a hint of blush hiding under their sunny exteriors pink grapefruits flaunt their lush juiciness. Cut into a ripe pink grapefruit and the juice escapes in rivulets of pale pink seduction. An irresistibly brazen fruit, all flirty in pink and then bittersweet to taste.
The first time I made the recipe I didn’t add enough zest and although the cookie was very good the grapefruit was nowhere to be found. If you’re not a big fan of citrus desserts you might prefer the cookie without a pronounced grapefruit flavor. In that case use the lowest amount of zest specified in the recipe, 1 tablespoon. If you’re not sure you want to make a full commitment to grapefruit, then opt for the middle ground, 2 tablespoons. But if you’re ready to try a dessert that screams grapefruit try all 3 tablespoons and let me know your opinion on the matter of Pink Grapefruit Bars. A word of caution I do like citrus desserts!
I adapted the Lemon Bar recipe from Sunset Favorite Recipes II for the Grapefruit Bars. This is my favorite Lemon Bar recipe. The same recipe makes the absolute best Lemon Bars, just swap the grapefruit juice and zest for lemon. Every time I try a new Lemon Bar recipe, I return to the Sunset recipe and vow never to try another. The buttery shortbread crust is a mighty fine foundation for the luscious sweet, yet tangy citrus topping. In the middle of testing these cookies I finally replaced my Microplane grater. It was the best thing I did all week. Grating the zest should be easy; just don’t include any of the white pith underneath the rind or your cookie filling will be bitter. The Pink Grapefruit Bars are a soft yellow-orange in color without a hint of pink to be found.
|Ingredients for Cookie Crust|
|1C/226gr||cold unsalted butter, softened|
|2C/250gr||all purpose flour|
|4||eggs, room temperature|
|1/2C/63gr||all purpose flour|
- Lightly butter or line a 9”x13”baking pan with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350°.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the beat the butter until creamy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bottom and sides of the mixer. Add the flour and salt. Mix just until combined, stopping to scrape down the bottom and sides of the mixer. Spread the mixture evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan. I moisten my fingertips to push the dough to the edges of the pan. A small off-set spatula also works well. Bake for 15-17 minutes. The dough will not be finished cooking. It should be pale in color and slightly puffed. Do not over cook as the topping will not adhere to the cookie base and the cookie base will over cook when it bakes with the topping.
- While the cookie base bakes prepare the filling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the eggs until they are light and creamy. Turn the mixer speed down and slowly add the sugar. Mix until fully incorporated with the eggs. Add the zest, juice, flour and baking power making sure the mixture is thoroughly combined.
- Pour the filling mixture on top of the crust and return to the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes. The top will turn golden brown and the edges of the cookie will pull away from the edges of the pan. Remove from the oven while the center still has a bit of jiggle. Dust with the remaining powdered sugar. Cool thoroughly before cutting.