The bars, however, were very good. In fact, a coworker said that this was perhaps one of the best sweets I had ever shared with her. I decided to make the recipe again, making some changes that I hoped would help. I baked the crust in a 10-x15-inch jelly roll pan instead of a 9x13-inch baking pan. This made a thinner crust that pleased me more. I eliminated the melted white chocolate chip topping and used my favorite frosting recipe instead. This made a topping that cut nicely. Now this is a cookie that I am very happy with, and I will use the base recipe often.
Because the flavoring for these bars comes from flavoring extract, it would be very easy to make them in other flavors such as cherry, orange, banana or mint.
I am developing some arthritis in my hands and find that recipes that call for cutting butter or margarine into dry ingredients are now more difficult for me to make. A little trick I have come up with is to use the whisk attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer to do this for me. I put the dry ingredients in the mixer bowl, cut the butter into slices and put on top of the dry ingredients. Then I run the mixer on low until the mixture is crumbly, stopping and cleaning the whisk attachment when necessary. This is much easier than cutting in the butter by hand.
The homemade marshmallow filling is very easy to make, but it really does need to be made with a stand mixer. The marshmallow takes 10 minutes of beating at the highest speed which can get very tiring if using a hand mixer. Because of the marshmallow center, the bars are most easily cut with a dampened knife that is cleaned frequently, and it will be necessary to give a little extra “push” to cut through the crust.
The original recipe came from M.m.m.m. More Cookies by Pillsbury, 1987. It is one of those little cookbooks that are displayed at the check-out counters of grocery stores.
Lemon Marshmallow Bars
1 1/2 c. flour
2 3/4 c. sifted powdered sugar, divided
1 c. butter or margarine, divided
1 c. water, divided
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 c. sugar
1 t. lemon extract
1 T. grated lemon peel
8 to 12 drops yellow food coloring
2 T. hot water
1 T. lemon juice
Place flour and 3/4 c. powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut in 3/4 c. butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. (See note above for doing this with an electric mixer.) Press mixture into a foil-lined 10x15-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. In mixer bowl, combine 1/2 c. water and the unflavored gelatin. Mix well and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and 1/2 c. water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil two minutes. Pour over gelatin mixture and mix well. Set bowl in refrigerator for 5 minutes to cool. Beat mixture at the highest speed of electric mixer until very thick. This will usually take about 10 minutes. Add lemon extract, food coloring and lemon peel. Beat well. Spoon marshmallow mixture over cooled crust, spreading as evenly as possible. (The pan will be very full.) Place in refrigerator to set. When set, prepare topping by melting 1/4 c. butter in a large glass measuring cup. Add 2 c. of sifted powdered sugar. Mix well. Stir in the water and lemon juice to make a spreading consistency. Spread over the top of the marshmallow mixture. Let set and cut into bars with a moistened knife. Store covered with plastic wrap in refrigerator. Makes about 48 bars.
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