My favorite part of the school day is reading with my two learning teams. The fifth graders are divided into groups of ten, based on their reading level, and we meet for thirty minutes a day to read as a book club. It is such a relaxing class, and takes minimal preparation, and so rewarding for myself and the kids. It feels like a college seminar, sitting around with a small group of kids reading and discussing a book. This past week one of my reading groups finished Junebug, by Alice Mead. It is the story of a young boy growing up in a rough neighborhood in New Haven who dreams of becoming a boat captain. We’ve now moved on to a more challenging text. To celebrate finishing Junebug, and moving on to Al Capone Does My Shirts, we indulged in these yummy lemon bars. Here’s how my learning team described them:
Gooey, sweet, sticky, buttery, lemony, powdery, and my personal favorite, goody.
Ingredients: For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Powedered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light. Combine the flour and salt, then add to the butter until just mixed. With floured hands, press the dough into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Cool. Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.
Adapted from Ina Garten