Monday, April 28, 2014

Cheaterpants Lemon Bars

I've fallen off the "remembering to take pictures of the things I make" wagon.  Bear with me until my brain starts to function again.  I blame it on soccer practice and the lack of consecutive warm days.

Anyhow... Lemon bars!
I love me some lemon bars.  Sadly, my husband has become a chocolate fiend and he never ever wants me to make any other dessert other than those that contain chocolate.

This time I didn't ask him what I should make to his family's Easter gathering.  I just made an executive decision. 

Lemon has always seemed like a spring-like Easter-ish type dessert to me.

These bars, from Belle of the Kitchen, are super quick to whip up because they use lemon cake mix for the base and crumble on top.  The middle is a cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice concoction.

A funny side story about the cream cheese.  I learned, over Easter, that my father-in-law does NOT like cream cheese.  My Sister-in-law had made the most amazing fruit pizza that had a strawberry cream cheese spread over a sugar cookie crust.  I'm drooling just thinking about it.  My Father-in-law wouldn't touch it because he was told it contained cream cheese.

We all decided NOT to tell him what the bars were made of.  He ate some and liked it!  I wonder what he thought the white stuff in the middle was!  Hehehehe!

Another nice thing about these bars is that they are not overly lemony.  The sour from the lemon is balanced nicely with the sweet from the filling and crust.  If you wanted to amp up the tart lemon flavor, I think adding some lemon zest to the filling would do the trick nicely.

Maybe my cake mix was a little bit less in volume than the brand that they used over at Belle of the Kitchen because it was difficult to get the base to spread out over the bottom of the pan.  I had to "borrow" a little bit from the topping.  This made the topping a little scant and not as visually appealing as I would have liked.  If this is the case for you, I would suggest adding a 1/4 c of quick cooking oats to the topping to make it stretch.

Super Easy Cheater Lemon Bars from Belle of the Kitchen
1 (18.25 oz) package lemon cake mix
1 egg
1/2 c veg oil
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 c sugar
3 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Pour cake mix into lg bowl. Add egg and oil; mix til well blended. Mixture will be slightly dry. Reserve about 3/4 c for topping, and pat rest into 9x13" pan. Bake 15 min in preheated oven. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, in a med bowl, beat softened cream cheese with sugar and lemon juice til smooth. Spread evenly over baked crust. Crumble reserved cake mix mixture over top. Bake an additional 15 min in preheated oven, or til filling is set and topping is lightly toasted. Cool before cutting into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.

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