Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars {splurge}

I'm sitting here, curled up in a blanket with chamomile to my left and our family tree to my right, close enough to smell the pine and realize that Christmas totally just came and went.  So not a dream!  

I'm also sitting here, looking like a scrappy 27 year old, but feeling like an old woman.  My whole body aches, inevitably from the summation of boozing and binging (new blog name?) my way through the past few weeks and then moving many large objects all day today.  Yeah, moving right after Christmas but right before going out of town is the jolliest of ideas I've had this month...


In the midst of holiday chaos, I made dream bars.  I made Shauna Sever's Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars from her latest book, Pure Vanilla.  I made magic.  

I've always been a chocolate person (and that won't change) but I'd be lying if I didn't say that this book left me more educated, inspired and excited for vanilla.  The photos (by Leigh Beisch) are absolutely stunning and just make you want to make everything.  Each page has gorgeous typography and print elements and the whole thing is just beautifully put together.  It's one of my favorite books this year.



I should also mention that I am NOT a lemon bar fan.  Considering I put lemon in almost all of my savory food, I've oddly never been the lemon dessert type... and I've just tried too many bad bars.  Too sour, too sweet, too gloppy, you name it.  So it goes without saying that it overjoys me beyond to finally find THE only lemon bar I/you need.  

This recipe is basically a lemon-white chocolate brownie with a note of vanilla.  They're not dense at all, moist, well-balanced and are super portable.  

They're totally what dreams are made of.

Make sure to buy the good white chocolate (I used Valrhona) because the cheap stuff tastes cheap and you, my friends, deserve the best.  


Recipe by Shauna Sever

INGREDIENTS: (makes 1 dozen)

  • 10 ounces white chocolate, chopped, divided
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste       
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ lemon curd, preferably homemade

-Pre-heat oven to 350˚ F and coat an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray and line it with strip of parchment paper that overhangs on two sides.
-Melt 8 ounces of white chocolate and butter using a double boiler.  Once melted, stir in sugar and salt.
-Whisk in eggs one at a time and then whisk in vanilla extract and paste.
-Gently fold in flour using a spatula; when a few streaks of flour are left fold in the remaining 2oz. of the chocolate and scrape batter into prepared pan. 
-In 6-9 equal portions place the lemon curd on top.  With a butter knife swirl the curd into batter in a figure 8 motion.
-Bake for 25-28 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 
-Cool completely before removing from the tin. Remove by grabbing the overhanging parchment paper and cut into 12 bars.