Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mrs. Diggs Lemon Bars

It seems like I’ve been writing about desserts a lot lately, but a few weeks ago I was given a recipe I’ve been trying to get my hands on for over 20 years. The recipe is for Mrs. Diggs lemon bars.

Mrs. Diggs was the grandmother of my college roommate, Wende, and she used to send us these heavenly lemon bars meticulously wrapped in wax paper and packaged in a wrapped shoe box. They were always delicious and although Wende and I haven’t really kept in touch, I’ve never forgotten those homemade lemon bars.

In spite of the increased distance between Wende and I over the last 22 years, I have stayed in touch with her mother, Judy. I spent a few days with Judy in March while working out of town in D.C. and at some point during that visit I asked her if she had the recipe for her mother’s lemon bars. Judy said hadn’t thought of those bars in years and didn’t know the recipe or if her mother had left a copy anywhere. A few weeks later as Judy prepared to come and visit us over the Mother’s Day weekend, she unexpectedly found her mother’s hand-written recipe for the lemon bars while flipping through an old Better Homes & Gardens. Judy proudly presented me with the recipe the morning of Mother’s Day. It was such a wonderful surprise.

A few days later, Olivia and I tried the recipe and I’m happy to report they’re as delicious as I'd remembered. We made another batch this afternoon and it’s really the perfect soon-to-be-summer treat. Thanks to Judy and the spirit of Mrs. Diggs for looking out!

Mrs. Diggs Lemon Bars

1 cup of flour
1/3 cup of sifted confectionary sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel
½ cup of fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees

• Combine 1 cup of flour and 1/3 cup of sifted confectionary sugar; cut in butter with a pastry blender (or use knife) until mixture is crumbly.
• Lightly grease 11”x7” baking dish.
• Press crumbly mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and back for 20 minutes. Watch carefully.
• Whisk together granulated sugar and the remaining ingredients.
• Pour over crust.
• Bake again at 350 degrees for another 20 minutes or until the filling is firm.
• Remove from oven and let cool completely.
• Cut into squares, remove from dish and sprinkle with confectionary sugar.
• Makes about 2 dozen.

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