Iced Lemon Squares

iced_lemon_squaresCan we talk about Facebook for a moment?  Do you think it’s Lucifer’s own handiwork or do you embrace  it with open arms? I have a friend who doesn’t go near it or Twitter because she doesn’t want to have her identity accessible or stolen or to have to read inane tweets like “Ima in the shops innit” and the like! Personally, I find Facebook invaluable for keeping up with my large and far flung family, though ironically, not my brother who is social media averse and prefers to communicate by rather more conventional means, such as the telephone. Facebook has allowed me to connect (awful, awful word, only marginally better than ‘reach out’…) with aunts, uncles, distant and not so distant cousins, nieces and nephews and watch as they grow up, get married, have children and continue that wonderful circle that is life. I have been able to stay in touch with friends who have moved away, colleagues who have moved on and teachers and parents from prep school, long after our children have  moved on to their separate senior schools. You know, the sort of people with whom it was once so easy to loose touch. I cheer along as milestones are reached, champion business endeavours and comment on birthday, wedding and holiday pictures. I have found and been found by old school friends, discovered by one of my mother’s best friends from our Kenya days and  stumbled upon family members that I would never have known otherwise. It is important not to post personal details like the year of birth, to remove geo tagging from home photos and to keep an eye on the privacy settings but in general, Facebook really works for me.

When I started this blog, I set up a Facebook ‘Page’ for it (you have ‘liked’ it, haven’t you?) and have been overwhelmed at the support. Posts have been shared, photos commented on and best of all, recipes have been made and photos posted on the timeline. Last week, my niece who lives in Toronto, messaged  me (on Facebook!) to say that she had a couple of days in London and wondered if we could meet up. It turns out that we last saw each other about 25 years ago, when she and her brother were just young ‘uns. I took them strawberry picking at Garson’s Farm in Esher and we made strawberry ice-cream when we got back. She is as sweet and gorgeous now as she was then and it was an absolute delight to spend time with her and her lovely friend. She says that she doesn’t cook very much but has made my Couscous Stuffed Red Peppers and sent me a photo. Now, of course, none of this would have happened without Facebook…

I knew I wanted to take her a little treat, something that would be light, easy to carry and easy to eat and I remembered these Iced Lemon Squares. The original recipe compares them to brownies (and called them ‘lemonies’) but I never saw the correlation. It is a slender bake – more of a bar than a cake but is dense with a lot of lemon flavour.  I have added ground almonds and tweaked the measurements a little too.

I am taking these over to Angie at The Novice Gardener‘s Fiesta Friday as the party is still going strong and I think that those die-hard revellers may just need a little hit of sugar to keep them going!

Click on the link to be taken to Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener and join the party! Mix and mingle with the the guests – who knows who you might meet! http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/fiesta-friday-10/

If you blog and would like to join the party, here are the guidelines http://thenovicegardener.wordpress.com/fiesta-friday/

iced_lemon_squares

Mix the dry ingredients, then beat in the butter which should be really soft. Nuking it for 15 or 20 seconds may help things along and don’t worry if some melts completely. At this stage the batter will be lumpy. Then, in a separate bowl,  (and without cleaning the beaters), give the eggs and lemon juice a bit of a whisking. Pour this onto the lumpen flour mix, beat and watch it transform into a smooth, creamy batter. Pour it into the prepared tin, spread it out  and bake for 25 minutes. It will be lightly golden rather than deeply tan.

iced_lemon_squares

Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes then, using the lining paper as handles, lift carefully and place onto a wire rack to cool. If you don’t have paper, make sure to butter the tin very well and also flour it, then when the cake is ready, run a knife round the sides, shake it a few times and flip it out onto a plate then back onto a rack to finish cooling.

iced_lemon_squares

While the bake is cooling, make the icing. First, zest the second lemon and set this aside. Then sift the icing to get rid of any lumps. I have. in the past, tried to skip this step because the ‘dust’ that this process generates really gets my OCD to go into overdrive but this results in bumpy icing so what I do instead is put the icing sugar in a sieve, sit it on top of a bowl and use a spoon to stir and push it through – this really keeps the mess down to a minimum. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract to the sifted icing sugar and whisk away until all the icing sugar has been absorbed. Keep going – it will happen! If the paste is too thick, add a teaspoonful of milk to loosen it. It should be thick but spreadable. Scrape it onto the middle of the bake and spread it out evenly. Scatter over the lemon zest and leave the icing to set before slicing.

iced_lemon_squares

iced_lemon_squares

To slice, cut the bake in half then slice each half in half so that you have 4 long slices. Spin the bake a quarter turn and do the same again.

iced_lemon_squares

iced_lemon_squares

iced_lemon_squares

Iced Lemon Squares

  • Servings: 16 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Adapted from Rita’s Recipes

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g plain/AP flour
  • 60g almond meal/flour/ground
  • 170g caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Icing

  • 70g icing sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp of milk if necessary
  • ½ tsp of vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Line an 8 inch square tin (mine is a 9 inch) with non-stick foil or grease proof paper. See my Tip and Tricks page, tip no 18 for an easy way to do this.
  3. Zest the lemon then juice it, keeping both separate and set aside.
  4. Hand whisk the flour, almond meal, sugar and salt to blend.
  5. Beat in the butter using an electric mixer until the butter has been incorporated – it will be quite lumpy.
  6. Whisk the eggs and the lemon juice for about 30 seconds.
  7. Pour it onto the flour mix together with the lemon zest. Beat until creamy – about 30 seconds to 1 minute. I always try to handle the batter as little as possible so as not to overwork the gluten which can result in a tough crumb.
  8. Scrape into the tin and spread out evenly using a spatula. It will seem like there isn’t enough batter but  don’t worry, there is.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes – it will have coloured a little on top. Place the tin on a wire rack for 10/15 minutes to cool, then using the foil or paper as handles, carefully lift out the cake , place on the rack and peel back the paper from the sides. Let the cake cool completely before icing.

To make the icing:

  1. Zest another lemon and set aside.
  2. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl to get rid of any  lumps.
  3. Whisk in the lemon juice and vanilla extract and keep whisking until it has all been absorbed.
  4. If resulting paste is too thick, add a tsp of milk and whisk in. The icing should be thick enough stay put yet spreadable.
  5. Pour onto the middle of the cake and spread it out as evenly as possible.
  6. Sprinkle over the zest and leave to set for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I find that the best way to slice these sort of bakes is as follows:

  1. Using a long sharp knife slice the bake in half.
  2. Then  slice each half into two equal slices so you now have 4 long equal slices.
  3. Spin the paper a quarter turn and do the same again – slice in half and each half in two.  You should have 16 fairly equal squares.

You can substitute oranges or limes for the lemons. You can double up the recipe to make in a larger pan.

© Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table, 2013. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Selma Jeevanjee and Selma’s Table with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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83 thoughts on “Iced Lemon Squares

  1. I love lemon bars – and these look moist and delicious! I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook – I actually deleted my page, but after a family tragedy almost two years ago, I started it again to stay connected with family. If nothing else, that it why I keep it and I like it for that reason!

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    • My feelings exactly – it should be used to suit you rather than the other way round! I just love that my mum who is in Toronto, can tell me about someone’s wedding and I know exactly what she is talking about as I have seen the photos…

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  2. So great to hear Facebook works out for you, Selma. I’m afraid I don’t use it properly. There must be a glitch on my FB page account. I can’t even leave comments or likes on anybody’s page. No updates or anything. The only thing I see is the “share” prompt. I’ve contacted FB numerous times to no avail.

    The lemon squares look scrumptious, by the way. I do love lemon anything! You’re not coming to FF this week?

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    • Angie – I think that you may not be using your page properly – I had the same problem until I realised that I was looking at my page as myself rather than Selma’s Table. Top right corner, click on the setting and click use as Novice Gardner – hopefully that works x

      Yet again, I meant to bring these to the party – is it too late to do so? My head is all over the place at the mo – can barely remember my name…

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          • I don’t connect my page and personal accounts, so there’s really no mistaking that I’m using the page as “The Novice Gardener.” I heard it’s a well-known glitch. A friend with a business account has the exact problem. They have thousands of likes but they can’t interact with any. Thanks for the help, hon. Have you received the invitation to be on the wait list for the new FB page layout? I did the other day but couldn’t even click on it! So frustrating!

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            • Very frustrating – but to be honest, FB is really messing about with Pages – most of the time the posts don’t even show up in people’s readers so I have to share it from my personal page – you are not missing too much! Thanks for linking me up to FF xxx

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  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #10 | The Novice Gardener

  4. Your recipe looks delicious especially for my lemon-loving family. I joined Facebook to keep family up to date on my husband when he was ill instead of talking to everyone all the time. I still only have family as “friends” and that is enough :)

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  5. Oh honey, what a gorgeous cake and what amazing photos, they look FAB!!! And I agree about Facebook, I love that I can communicate with my friends and family all over the country and the world on a regular basis xx

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  6. Beautiful dessert! I was interested to read about how invaluable it has been for you to link your blog to Facebook. I have considered it and haven’t done it- I spend enough time on WordPress and worry that I will get sucked into the Facebook world as well!! Such a dilemma… :)

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    • Thanks for the kind comment! I found that having a blog presence on Facebook was a way to let my friends and family know that I had started blogging – it has just grown from that without me doing too much. I don’t post huge amounts, just the odd food related article here and there as well as my posts – and I am not a prolific blogger! It’s so easy to switch between your own profile and your page -and WordPress automatically sends the link out to the page – I don’t spend too much time on it at all…It is worth doing…

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    • I am a sucker for citrus and almonds too! They just seem to compliment each other so well. Facebook can be very social as long as you set it up to work for you. If you do go over, just keep personal details to a minimum and don’t get sucked into befriending everyone!

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  7. Lemon squares look heavenly …
    Would you please explain to me why you need Facebook as well as a blog? Why can’t your family and so forth keep in touch via that ?

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    • I don’t think that you can substitute one for the other, Margaret. By posting a link to my blog posts on Facebook, my family and friends can click on the link and read the post. Blogging is a bit of a one way street – I would have no way of keeping up with them via my blog…

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  8. These lemon squares look super delicious. Thanks for joining us and bringing these treats. As for FB, I am like you. I find it is so useful as long as you don’t get silly or reckless. I avoid personal or political comments, but love keeping in touch and the odd bit of humour people share with me. I would miss it if I didn’t have it.

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    • Gosh, that is so spooky – I was just looking at your post for Fiesta Friday – I’m still in the middle of reading it!! Couldn’t agree more with you about Facebook – it is what you make of it. Lovely to meet you at Fiesta Friday!

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  9. Hi Selma! Thanks so much for bringing your lemonies to FF! You are right, the partiers could really use a bit more sugar to keep them upright! They look mouth-watering and the lemon will perk up some of the guests who are starting to fade a bit! The whole Facebook thing is interesting. It only seems to work if your circle of friends and family are into it, so it is really hit or miss…May I offer you a cocktail? Let’s see we still have some Latin Lovers…we have Bellinis and some gorgeous Maple Syrup cocktails…

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  10. Mmm, sound delicious! :)

    Facebook really helps us to ‘reach out’ with distant friends and relatives. Sometimes, we also find new friends. And also relatives that we didn’t know that we are even related. :D

    Have a lovely weekend to you!

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  11. Mmmmm, these look gooooood! I’d be tempted to make them, except I made my lemon berry cake a couple of days ago (very similar ingredients list) and we’ve still got some sitting in the tin. Oh and I don’t have a big rectangular tin like yours…. Doubly foiled. Looks wonderful though!

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  12. I love all things lemon, so this looks like the perfect tray bake! I only use Facebook occasionally, but I agree it’s nice to get updates about people that I don’t see often or are travelling, as long as I make sure the privacy controls are right.

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    • Exactly!! I must admit that I tend to check it most evenings or early morning if I am up but it is all about making it work for you rather than the other way round! Thanks for the lovely comment about the bake x

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  13. Your lemon squares look great, Selma! I love the icing as I’m a bit of an icing fanatic! I hope you have (or is it had?) a wonderful visit with your niece! FB is great when used for good…and when you don’t have to scroll through weird slang! ;) I’m hoping on over to “Like” your page right now! :D

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  14. Selma you have managed to turn a normally overly sweet, cloyingly so, lemon bar into one that I think is just perfect! I usually avoid “lemon squares”, but using the cake base as you have done is just genius. A bit of cake to soak up the sweet lemony topping is just so perfect.

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    • Thanks Teresa! *blushes* I think that I just instinctively added the almond flour/meal knowing that it would tone the sweetness down and there isn’t a lot of topping really so it’s really just a glaze!

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    • eBay! Minton Cockatrice – I have a rule that I don’t spend more than £5 if it is plates and £10 if it is something bigger. It is too easy to get carried away bidding…I’ve got some lovely Asiatic Pheasant plates coming – really faded and beautiful…

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  15. Pingback: LIME, COCONUT & CAPE GOOSEBERRY CAKE | Cheesy Biscuit

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