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Jack Lemmon Bars

Posted Sep 12 2011 7:30am
All summer I've been going to The Paramount Theater here in Austin to watch classic movies on the big screen as part of their summer film series. I had bought a Groupon last spring resulting in ten "free" tickets, ten "free" popcorns, and ten "free" Diet Cokes. [Well, 'soda,' but y'all know which one I drank. ;)] The last two movies I saw were both Billy Wilder films starring a young Jack Lemmon. In Some Like it Hot, I laughed hysterically as he dressed up like a woman and inadvertently decided to marry a billionaire...
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...and I just loved the romantic comedy pairing of Mr. Lemmon and a young Shirley McLaine in the fantastically funny The Apartment.
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Having decided I am now Jack Lemmon's biggest fan (and added all of his old movies to my Netflix queue), I was greatly intrigued by a comment I heard---or maybe just WISH I heard--as I was leaving the theater the last time. A woman turned to her companion and said, "We'll have to make Jack Lemmon bars."
Thanks for the idea. :)
These aren't just ANY lemon bars...in honor of the adorable young Shirley McLaine,* I went ahead and made them ginger lemon bars.
*And because I'm obsessed with ginger. To make these Jack Lemmon (Ginger) Bars, you'll start with 1 cup of the flour of your choice.*
*One of my co-workers thought the flour tasted "old." It might have been. Try to use 'new' flour...or just don't offer them to people who have the job title of "Foodie."^
^I should also point out this co-worker said there was not ginger flavor, while yet another one said the ginger was too strong.+
+All you need to know is that I like them. And I'm always right. So trust me: they are good. Add two teaspoons of ground ginger, plus two tablespoons of brown sugar and two tablespoons of powdered sugar. [My recipe super annoyingly calls for three different types of sugar---I wasn't trying to be difficult, I swear--but I bet you could get away with just using regular granulated for everything.] Butter makes it better. :) You'll need to mash all of this together somehow. One woman might choose to use an electric mixer, another (most likely married) might choose the Kitchen Aid... ...in The Smart Kitchen, we use our hands. Once you've got everything well mixed...and tried not to eat all of it off your fingers...[Which you can do without fear of salmonella! Hooray for no eggs (yet)!] ...you can press it into an 8"-square baking dish. Pop that into a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, until it is lightly browned and set up a bit. While it's cooking, get two small bowls. In one, combine 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoons of flour, and another teaspoon of ginger (optional). In the second, crack two eggs. Whisk the eggs together and then whisk the flour into the eggs. Then, squeeze in about 3-4 Tbsp. of lemon juice. I used 2 1/2 lemons, but it will depend on how juicy and big they are as to how many you need. [Remember to roll them on the counter first to get them softened up for you.] Pour the lemon mixture onto the partially baked crust and return the whole mess to the oven for about 15-20 more minutes. If the browned edges bother you like they bother me...just cut 'em off. [More crumblies for you to munch on that way... ;)] They're not the most beautiful bar in the world. But isn't that what powdered sugar is for? You've really must make these Jack Lemmon (Ginger) Bars. After all, they're so easy, even a guy like Baxter (who uses a tennis racket to drain pasta) could do it!
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Jack Lemmon (Ginger) Bars
(Makes 12)
For the crust:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 stick butter
For the "filling":
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3-4 Tbsp. lemon juice
1. Mix together flour, sugars, and ginger for the crust. Combine with butter until everything is incorporated.
2. Press crust mixture into an 8"square baking dish.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.
4. In a separate bowl, combine granulated sugar, flour, and ginger for the filling. Whisk together two eggs and mix well with dry ingredients.
5. Stir in lemon juice to filling mixture.
6. Pour lemon filling over partially baked crust and return pan to the oven for 15-20 more minutes, until bars are just set.
7. Sprinkle cooled and cut bars with powdered sugar for beautification purposes. :)
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