Rarely enthralled by chocolate, I tend to feel a tad excluded on Valentine’s Day.
While I appreciate good-quality dark chocolate one square at a time, or maybe a single, velvety truffle, my friends and family know only too well that I prefer my sweets in fruit flavors rather than cocoa nine times out of 10.
Desserts that incorporate fruit and chocolate — cherries, raspberries and banana in particular — do deserve my consideration. But chocolate with lemon? How does that work?
The answer comes by way of this bar cookie, courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Arthi Subramaniam. Crushed chocolate wafer cookies compose the crust for a filling with plenty of pucker power, owing to finely grated lemon zest.
Could this unconventional combination actually tempt chocoholics? My best test subjects are two young boys who unfailingly can be coerced into compliance with chocolate. Yet they both famously love to suck lemon wedges. Given those tastes, these treats could become a new family favorite.
2 cups crushed chocolate cookies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, melted
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3 egg yolks
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 F. Lay 2 sheets of parchment paper in an 8-by-8-inch baking pan; set aside.
Combine the crushed cookies and melted butter. Press crust mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
Bake crust in preheated oven for about 15 minutes.
While crust is baking, make filling by whisking together the cream cheese, egg yolks, condensed milk, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let mixture rest for a few minutes to allow some air bubbles rise to surface.
Pour filling into warm crust. Place pan back into oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until filling has set.
Remove from oven and let cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar.
Makes 16 bars.