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!)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Grease a 9×13 inch pan with butter and line with foil—grease foil as well
- 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
- Press evenly into bottom and up the sides of the pan
- 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
- Whisk the whole eggs and yolks, sugar, agave syrup and flour together until creamy
- Whisk in lemon zest, lemon juice, whiskey, and vanilla
- Remove thyme from stem and add leaves to the filling
- Reduce oven to 300 F
- Add filling to crust and return to the oven
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crust sets