Aunt Ella's Lemon Bars

Crust
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups cane sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour and confectioners' sugar in a 13-by- 9-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper; add the melted butter, mixing lightly to combine. Press butter crust down into the pan evenly. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake until light golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.
  2.    Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl;      whisk in the cane sugar, zest and lemon juice; set aside. 
  3.   Stir together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl; whisk into filling just until blended. Spread filling over crust.
  4.  Bake until firm and top beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Dust top with confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; cut lemon bars into 1 1/2-inch- by-2- inch squares.
  5. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack. Makes about 2 dozen.
Aunt Ella's Lemon Bars

Crust
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups cane sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour and confectioners' sugar in a 13-by- 9-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper; add the melted butter, mixing lightly to combine. Press butter crust down into the pan evenly. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake until light golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.
  2.    Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl;      whisk in the cane sugar, zest and lemon juice; set aside. 
  3.   Stir together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl; whisk into filling just until blended. Spread filling over crust.
  4.  Bake until firm and top beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Dust top with confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; cut lemon bars into 1 1/2-inch- by-2- inch squares.
  5. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack. Makes about 2 dozen.
Aunt Ella's Lemon Bars

Crust
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1½ cups cane sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together the flour and confectioners' sugar in a 13-by- 9-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper; add the melted butter, mixing lightly to combine. Press butter crust down into the pan evenly. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Bake until light golden, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside to cool.
  2.    Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl;      whisk in the cane sugar, zest and lemon juice; set aside. 
  3.   Stir together the flour and baking powder in a small bowl; whisk into filling just until blended. Spread filling over crust.
  4.  Bake until firm and top beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Dust top with confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; cut lemon bars into 1 1/2-inch- by-2- inch squares.
  5. Remove from pan; cool completely on rack. Makes about 2 dozen.

​​​
Passing Down Traditional ​
Family Recipes

Flavors of Home

Mom's Holiday Sweet Potato Cups
4 medium sweet potatoes, unpeeled
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon each, ground cinnamon, sea salt
1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg, mace
8 Clementine oranges, halved, juice from 8 of the halves, pulp removed and reserved for other use from remaining 8 halves
Creme Fraiche, to taste for garnish, see note
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover potatoes with water in a large pot; heat to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Place in a ricer and press out flesh. Or, peel potatoes and mash in a large bowl. Stir in butter, orange juice, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and mace until creamy. Spoon or pipe into orange halves. Bake until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Serve with a small dollop of creme fraiche.
​​
   
 When my mom passed away more than a decade ago, I remember missing her most in the kitchen. Later, a friend suggested my keeping her framed photograph on the cookbook shelf to place on the counter as needed. Follow my example if you’re missing someone in the kitchen.


Seasonal Best Recipes


   
Berry Soulful Year-round Blackberry Pie
    
    

   ​​ Carolyn's Mac & Cheese


    

Cousin's Greens

​​​​​​3 tablespoons olive oil
1 each, trimmed, finely chopped, onion, celery rib, green pepper
6 pounds fresh mixed collard, mustard, turnip greens, cleaned
5 smoked turkey tails
2 dried red hot chile peppers, broken into pieces
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups of water


Heat olive oil in a stock pot or very large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, celery and green peppers. Cook, stirring, until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir; lower heat to medium low. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until greens wilt and flavors begin to come together, about 15 minutes.
Stir in dried peppers, salt and black pepper. Lay turkey tails on top of greens; cover. Cook 15 minutes.
Add the water; raise heat to medium-high; heat just to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer. Cook until greens are very tender about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Makes 16 servings.
Note: shop for smoked turkey tails in the smoked meat departments. If not available, use smoked turkey wings or legs.
    

    
4 eggs
4 cups milk
2 teaspoons each: salt, freshly ground pepper
1 box (16 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni, cooked according to package instructions, drained
1 package (4 cups) Mexican-blend shredded cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the eggs, milk, salt and pepper in a medium bowl; set aside.
Stir together the cooked macaroni and Mexican cheese blend in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top evenly with Cheddar cheese, lightly pushing the cheese down into the macaroni mixture to moisten.
Bake until top and edges begin to brown and cheese melts, about 50 minutes. Set aside 10 minutes before serving.
 
    



    
​​4 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons each: brown sugar, cornstarch
Juice and zest of 1/2 small lemon
2 unbaked 9-inch pie crusts
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Position rack in the lowest third of the oven. Place the blackberries in a large bowl; set aside. Stir together the white and brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Pour over the blackberries; toss with your hands to coat blackberries with sugar mixture. Set aside.
Line a pie pan with 1 crust, pressing edges to lightly flute; prick holes in the bottom crust with fork tines; set aside.
Drain filling of any excess liquid, reserving sweetened blackberry juice for later use, if desired. Spread filling over prepared crust.
Form a lattice crust with 1/2-inch strips of the second pie crust; whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl; brush lightly over strips with a pastry brush.
Bake 30 minutes; check pie crust to see if the edges are browning too quickly. Add strips of foil to cover edges, if desired. Bake until crust browns evenly and filling bubbles, about 20-25 minutes.
 

Dalton Sweet Potato Pie
    

   
Freda's Chocolate Chip Cookies
         

​​​​​​​
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon each: baking soda, salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1 egg 
Cream shortening and sugar. Add vanilla and egg. Beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients, chocolate chips and walnuts. 
Drop from teaspoon on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven until cookies begin to brown around the edges, about 20 minutes. Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

Courtney's Crawfish Appetizer Pies  

 ​​​2 large sweet potatoes, cooked, riced (about 2 cups)
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg, separated, optional
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons each: maple syrup, melted butter
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon each, ground: nutmeg, cardamom, mace
1 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
1 pie shell (9-inch) uncooked

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the sweet potatoes, 2 eggs, sugar, maple syrup and butter with a mixer on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Add the cinnamon, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, cardamom and mace. Slowly beat in the half and half, mixing just until well combined. Set aside. 
Prick the bottom and sides of the pie dough with the tines of a fork. Brush the crust with the optional egg white, if using. (Refrigerate the egg yolk for another purpose or discard.) 
Pour the reserved sweet potato mixture into the pie dough. Place on the center rack of an oven. Bake until filling firmly sets, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes 8 servings. 
   
​   ​​​​​​​​​​
 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 each, finely chopped: small yellow onion, celery rib
1/2 each, small, trimmed, finely chopped: red bell pepper, green bell pepper
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning blend
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 pounds cooked crawfish tail meat with any liquid and fat
1/2 of a 10-ounce can of green chile spiced tomatoes, such as Rotel
3 cloves garlic
1/2-1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions, white and some green, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup bread crumbs
24 mini frozen unbaked appetizer pie shells, thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add yellow onions, celery, bell peppers, Creole seasoning and salt. Cook, stirring, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour; cook, stirring 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the crawfish and tomatoes. Stir in the garlic. Return to heat. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
Stir in the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, green onions and parley. Cook, stirring 2 minutes 
Stir in the cream slowly. Remove from heat. Stir in the egg very slowly, careful not to scramble. Stir in the bread crumbs. Pour filling into pie shells placed on a baking sheet. Brush the dough rim with olive oil. Bake until filling begins to brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 24 pieces.
 

Please contact us with corrections, suggestions, questions...or to share a family recipe, photograph or tip:

dpierce@BlackAmericaCooks.com

or
dpierce@skilletdiaries.com