Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars
From “Pure Vanilla” by Shauna Sever (Quirk Books, 2012)
Makes 1 dozen bars
- 10 ounces white chocolate, chopped, divided
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 cup all-purpose flour. sifted
- 1/2 cup storebought lemon curd*
*Lemon curd is just one option here. You can also go with any well-stirred, low sugar jam or preserves, such as orange marmalade or raspberry jam. The key is to find a flavor that is on the tart side without too much sugar, to balance the sweetness of the vanilla bar base.
Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350°F. Spray an 8-by-8-inch pan with cooking spray, and line it with an 8-inch wide strip of parchment paper to make removing the bars from the pan easier.
In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, place 8 ounces of the white chocolate and the butter pieces in a heatproof bowl. Melt together, stirring often. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the sugar and salt.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Whisk in the vanilla extract and vanilla bean paste. Switch to a spatula and gently fold in the flour. When just a few streaks of flour remain, fold in the remaining 2 ounces of white chocolate chunks. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Dollop the lemon curd over the batter in 5 to 6 equal portions. Swirl into batter with a knife with a figure-8 motion. Bake until a tester comes out clean but not dry, 25 to 28 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing from the pan and cutting into bars.