Guest Countertop Series: Whiskey & Thyme Lemon Bars

Everyone knows that girls who cook rarely bake, and girls who bake can barely cook. Well maybe not everyone, but I certainly am cookie-challenged. To help even out the savory/sweet ratio here at The Coastal Countertop, we’ve started the Guest Countertop Series. Every month, I’ll feature a guest chef, complete with full interview and fabulous recipe. First up, Lisa Herron: a baker-extraordinaire, with the ability to both cook and bake (didn’t think it was possible!).

+What is your favorite ingredient to use?

A difficult question to answer because there are too many…but if I had to narrow it down I would say garlic. I just love the flavor and the aroma it gives off in the kitchen.

+Essentials you must you have stocked in your kitchen at all times?

Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, chicken stock, quinoa, eggs, avocado, zucchini, spinach, lemons, and a variety of herbs

+Any baking tips to share with TCC? (Not much baking goes down on this countertop…)

I have always heard that baking is precise and you must follow the recipe in an exact manner…but the truth is, I think some of the best baked goods come from experimentation with flours, sugars, and spices (just not baking powder and baking soda).

+ Why whiskey?

Well, whiskey just gives baked goods an extra kick/earthiness that I like. Also, I made this just after I had an oat cake spiked with scotch and it was amazing…and inspiring!

+Favorite spot in California?

It is literally impossible to narrow down such a great state to one particular place, but anywhere along the coast is beautiful. Because I have been living in San Diego for 5 years, I think the La Jolla Gliderport in a spot just to the left of the take-off point is my favorite place to appreciate the Pacific.

Whiskey & Thyme Lemon Bars

For the Crust:

  • Butter to grease the pan 
  •  1 1/2 sticks organic, unsalted butter, diced
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 cup almond flour
  •  1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporate cane juice sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon organic almond extract (optional—can use vanilla also!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2.  Grease a 9×13 inch pan with butter and line with foil—grease foil as well
  3. Pulse the butter, both flours, sugars and salt in a mixer or food processor until dough comes together; it should take about a minute; add in almond or vanilla extract and pulse to combine
  4. Press evenly into bottom and up the sides of the pan
  5. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown (set aside until ready with filling)

For the Filling:

  • 4 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar
  • ½ cup agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Fresh grated zest from one lemon (about 2-3 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup freshly juiced lemons (from about 5-6 whole lemons)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 12 sprigs of fresh thyme
  1.  Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar, agave syrup and flour together until creamy
  2.  Whisk in lemon zest, lemon juice, whiskey, and vanilla
  3. Remove thyme from stem and add leaves to the filling
  4. Reduce oven to 300 F
  5. Add filling to crust and return to the oven
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust sets
Καλή όρεξη! (That’s “Bon Apetit” in Greek)
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