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Author Notes: My mother-in-law makes a mean lemon bar - so much so that we served them at our wedding! I decided to jazz them up a bit by adding a chocolate layer, and had a lot of fun experimenting with the wide variety of artisanal chocolate flavors available. (Raspberry turned out great, though a little sweet, and today at the store I noticed a lavender and red salt chocolate bar that might be interesting.) Chili chocolate was the clear winner, though, because the touch of heat and a pinch of added salt really helped balance out the tart, sweet lemon. —TurkeyBeanBacon
Makes 24 2-inch bars
cup confectioners sugar
ounces chili-flavored chocolate
cups granulated sugar
cup fresh lemon juice
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Shift the flour and confectioners sugar together in a large bowl.
- Cut the butter into the mixture until it is fairly evenly incorporated. The result will look like slightly clumpy, like damp sand.
- Spray a 9X13" glass baking dish with nonstick spray and lightly press the mixture into the dish.
- Bake the base at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until it's a golden brown color.
- While the base is baking, melt the chocolate over a double boiler (or in a bowl set over a pot of gently boiling water) and add a pinch of salt. I use Taza Guajillo Chili Dark Chocolate, because it has a nice punch, but any chili-flavored dark chocolate will do. Or you could make your own by melting unflavored dark chocolate and adding chili powder, cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
- Once the chocolate is melted, use a brush to paint chocolate onto the base until it's completely covered. Don't go crazy though - too much chocolate will overpower the lemon flavor.
- Once the dish has cooled a bit, put it in the freezer so that the chocolate can harden up.
- Beat together the eggs, granulated sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl. Sift the four and baking power together and stir it into the lemon mixture. Once it's all incorporated, pour it on top of the chocolate-covered base.
- Return the dish to the oven for another 20 minutes. You know it's done when you can give the dish a shake and the lemon layer is mostly firm.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting (I like to put mine in the fridge overnight and cut the next day). Cut the bars into 2-inch squares. Dust with powdered sugar and cayenne pepper. And, if you're feeling fancy, maybe garnish with a drizzle of chocolate.