Monthly Archives: January 2013

Meyer Lemon Squares


There are two things I attribute to a successful grocery shopping trip: Not seeing anybody I know from high school (to be honest, small talk is not my favorite) and finding obscure products like Meyer lemons. I suppose Meyer lemons aren’t that obscure, but in recent winter seasons I’ve begun to notice their popularity. I was quite excited to see a bag of these little yellow-orange wonders. Apparently, Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange, so they’re sweeter than your average lemon. (Georgia volunteered to try one. The verdict: sweeter, but not pleasant to eat by itself.)

The lovely thing about citrus in the winter is that it can really brighten a dreary day. We happened to make these on a cold/snowy/rainy day (is there any worse combination?!), which made the day a little bit nicer. If you’re experiencing the winter blues, I recommend these happy lemon squares. Take advantage of citrus while it’s still in season.


After my Meyer lemon discovery, I excitedly suggested to Georgia that we make lemon squares. She quickly agreed, then proceeded to tell me that at seven years old, she made up a joke about lemon squares.

“Where do desserts go on Saturday nights?”

“To the lemon square dance!”

This is why we are friends.


A couple tips for making these: always zest the lemon before juicing to keep things neat. If you want a thicker lemon layer, head over to Smitten Kitchen, where we got the recipe, for an thicker option. We mistakenly baked these a bit too long so the filling wasn’t as soft as it should have been, but delicious nonetheless. Make sure you pay attention to the bars while they’re in the oven, no matter how addicting Girls is.

Meyer Lemon Squares
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

For the crust
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2  cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

For the filling
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
2/3 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper or grease & flour the dish
  2. For the crust, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk together flour and salt and add to the butter mixture while the mixer is running. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough and press into the baking sheet; build the crust up 1/2 inch on the sides of the dish. Chill.
  3. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.
  4. For the filling, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon zest, juice and flour. Pour over the crust and bake about 20-25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and dust with confectioners’ sugar.



Dirty Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce


My friends, Wright Time for a Schnack has officially reunited! We have meandered our way back to snowy little Rhode Island from our respective corners of the world. This morning, Caty and I happily cooked in the same kitchen for the first time in over four and a half months. We might be a little more street-smart, city-slick, and worldly, but we are still delighted to return to our hometown and the brilliant friends and family who inhabit it.

On this chilly winter morning, both of us recovering from colds, Caty and I concocted a delightful warm breakfast of dirty chai pancakes with a sweet caramel sauce drizzle. For those not in the know, dirty chai is a surprisingly toothsome flavor mix of chai spice and espresso.

They were enormously satisfying. One of the many lovely things about pancakes is that they are extremely adaptable–one can put any number of ingredients in pancakes and they transform to suit a variety of occasions. In this instance, our occasion was our blogging reunion, and the newly-born year of 2013. Listen, if you don’t have any occasions to celebrate with food, I encourage you make one up on the spot.

For those who, unlike me, aren’t as fond of sugar, I’d recommend you cut back on the amount of the caramel sauce.  Caty and I ate no more than half of what we had made–the sauce-to-pancakes ratio was quite high.

These were a lovely treat, and the best part was enjoying each other’s blogging company after so long apart! There’s a sole person in this life who genuinely understands my need to dance like a lunatic in the kitchen, and that is the one and only Caty Schnack.

Happy New Year, everybody!


Dirty Chai Pancakes with Spiced Caramel Sauce
Adapted from Cooking for Seven

For the spiced caramel sauce
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
A pinch of each cloves, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger

For the pancakes
1 1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons white vinegar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon finely ground espresso (we used Cafe Bustelo espresso-style coffee)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. For the caramel sauce: Place sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir vigorously until completely melted, then add butter one piece at a time. Slowly pour in heavy cream while continuing to whisk. Remove from heat and add salt and spices. Set aside.
  2. Combine the milk and vinegar in a measuring cup and set aside to curdle for five minutes.
  3. Sift together the dry pancake ingredients. Add the curdled milk, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until just combined. The batter might be liquidy; let it sit for a couple minutes and it will thicken up.
  4. Heat a heavy skillet and coat with non-stick cooking spray or butter. Drop batter onto skillet using a 1/3 cup measure and cook until bubbles appear on the sides of the pancake, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes until cooked on both sides.
  5. Serve with caramel sauce and enjoy!