As Thanksgiving rolled around this year, I found myself at a loss on the dessert front, which is normally my creative arena. I love the flavors of the holiday season, but I crave novelty. Thankfully, I found inspiration in this chocolate cranberry pecan tart, but being stumped made me think. When does tradition lose its comfort and become boring and/or monotonous?
Last October, I baked this cake for a Friendsgiving gathering. This October, I revisited the recipe to make a birthday cake for my mom. I rarely repeat recipes, but the frosting really is that good. Frosting aside, this cake is special because it's the first cake I've made for my mom, to celebrate her.
This cake was from one year ago. It's a belated post because I was busy living, busy saying yes to adventures that pushed me beyond my comfort levels. Belated because I chose to rest. Belated because I didn't quite have the right words yet, but everything comes at its due time. The due time for sharing this cake was one year later: a chocolate-hazelnut bookend. Revisiting these cake memories has been my way of reminiscing and celebrating Ben's special day until we can celebrate together.
Whenever I plan gatherings, I choose to invest more time in one (or at least I *try* to invest in only one) menu item. This winter, I had been craving the flavors and simple beauty of Whole Grain Linzer Cookies, or Helle Linzer Plaetzchen if you fancy the German title. Named for the Austrian Linzer Torte, a latticed pastry with jam filling, these buttery shortbread cookies and peeks of jam feel like little ornaments. In the vein of European traditions, I chose a Swedish lingonberry jam for a burst of red filling (and because I dream of participating in a St. Lucia celebration someday!).
People ask me if I am from Pittsburgh? No, I moved here. Then I left. Then I returned. It was cheap, and my stuff was here, and it was no fairy tale. I returned to Pittsburgh for two major life tracks that both fell through. They fell hard, like coins falling through ripped jeans and clanking on the pavement.
It was a sour moment. Yet, I don’t think I shed a single tear (I’m all about regrouping). Turns out, those plans clanked to the sidewalk for a reason. The universe had something way sweeter in store for me (mainly, the Urban Farmer and a lil’ lass with punkin’ seeds for eyebrows). Sweet, sour, beautiful on the surface, then sticky, sludgy and messy, and yet, so damn good! That’s life, and that’s lemon bars!
So when life hands you life, make lemon bars!
Gluten Free Lemon Bars
yield: 24 bars & a sticky mess