Emily came home from college for the weekend! She says she missed us, but I think she just wanted to do her laundry. Whatever the reason, we were thrilled to have her back – even for just a few days.
When she comes home, I’ll usually make one or two of her favorite foods since she’s stuck on the meal plan at school. This time, I used her visit as an excuse to make these pink grapefruit bars — a riff on classic lemon bars.
Inspiration came when I was salivating over Joy The Baker‘s newest cookbook, Homemade Decadence earlier that week. She had a recipe for lemon bars. I love lemon bars. But I was out of lemons. There was, however, a single lonely grapefruit sitting in my fruit bowl.
I love it when inspiration and available ingredients come together! Time to get cooking.
After pressing the soft dough into the pan to bake, I assembled the curd-like filling.
I poured the batter over the crust and and set it in the oven to transform into a pucker-y sweet bite of bliss.
Before long, the house smelled like the grocery store on Saturday morning — you know, when they blast the aroma of freshly made pastries through every vent to steer you from the dairy case (where you just needed to pick up milk) and toward the bakery? Bastards.
Anyway, a liberal dusting of powdered sugar later and Emily’s “welcome home” treats were ready. She spied the container immediately as she came through the door — some kind of sixth sense for sweets and carbohydrates.
After dinner, I brought out the bars for dessert and I had one. One. One. I went to bed and Emily, Scott and Em’s friend, Miranda — devoured the rest. Seriously???
I found the remnants of powdered sugar and a few smudges of grapefruit curd in the empty container the next morning. Sniff.
- 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 grapefruit zested
- 1/4 cup grapefruit juice squeezed from the grapefruit you just zested!
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Set rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8x8 inch baking pan using Smitten Kitchen's "sling" method. Cut 2 pieces of parchment the same width as the bottom of your pan, but longer on each end so that when you lay the parchment in the pan, extra parchment paper hangs over both sides. Lay the other piece of parchment going in the opposite direction of the first.
Beat together the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping the sides occasionally. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until combined. Transfer the dough to the bottom of the pan and use your fingers to press it evenly into the space.
Bake the dough until lightly browned about 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a medium bowl add the eggs and sugar. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute until slightly thick. Add the flour, grapefruit juice and zest. Whisk well and pour the filling over the warm baked crust.
Bake until lightly browned on top and no longer jiggly in the center, about 18-20 minutes. Cool completely in the pan. Lift the parchment paper and transfer the cookie to a cutting board. Use a long, thin knife to cut the bar into 16 squares.
Store in a airtight container, separating layers with a piece of parchment or wax paper -- so they don't stick together.
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