Fresh Lime “Brownies”

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I was about 6 years old when I learned that there was more than one way to peel a banana. Like most people, I had always peeled from the top down, meaning I started by snapping the stem-like portion that had been attached to the bunch and then peeling downward. Then one day, my banana would not peel. I tried again and again to break the stem, but as you experienced-banana-peelers can imagine it just got weaker and weaker and less likely to break. So my mom gently took the banana from me, turned it upside-down, pressed her thumb under the bottom, and neatly peeled it from the bottom up. I laughed and ate it holding onto the stem, feeling like I was eating the banana upside-down. But was I? Maybe I had been eating bananas upside-down all along, and this was the right way to do it. Or maybe there was no right way or wrong way.

Sorry for the banana analogy. I’m not just spouting out a random stream of consciousness; I do have a point here. What I’m getting at is that we’re often taught that there are “right” ways of doing things and “wrong” ways. Our culture expects us to like certain things, behave in certain ways, dress in certain styles, etc. If I was a perfectly stereotypical American I would love watching football games, eat at fast-food restaurants at least twice a week, and own at least 5 pieces of technology. If I was a stereotypical Pacific Northwestern teenage girl I would probably own at least 1 pair of Ugg boots, spend way too much time online shopping at Forever 21, and consider chocolate an evil enemy/beloved savior. Being me, I absolutely hate football (warning: do not say this on the Friday of high school homecoming or you will be met with a classroom-full of stunned, disbelieving, borderline-hostile stares…or in some cases, glares); couldn’t eat at fast-food restaurants if I wanted to since I live a boat-ride away from them; own a cell phone, iPod, lap top, and two computers; just might have three pairs of Ugg boots sitting in my closet; spend a reasonable amount of time online shopping at Forever 21; and can take chocolate or leave it. Some parts of me are probably subconsciously shaped by the status quo, but others are not. Which is good.

The bottom line is that it’s okay to “peel your banana the wrong way” because it isn’t wrong. If you’re a person who happens to hate chocolate, contrary to the thousands of chocaholic people out there who wax poetic on the stuff and claim to be unable to comprehend what possibly goes on in the minds of those who prefer vanilla, that’s okay. You’re not crazy; you don’t have terrible taste; you don’t need to be pitied. You just aren’t that crazy about chocolate. All of this deep contemplating has been intended to make those of you who are chocolate-haters (or even chocolate moderates) feel okay about yourselves. Not everyone has to choose triple-fudge brownie ice cream over vanilla. You are good, smart, capable, tasteful people too! And fortunately for you, I have an alternative to brownies…I call them Limies, or lime brownies.

Their dense, slightly chewy texture is similar to that of brownies, but instead of having a rich chocolate flavor they’re light and citrus-y. Imagine taking a piece of zesty lime pound cake, making it a little more fluffy and cake-like (this is more theoretical than logic, as I have no idea how one would go about making a piece of pound cake more “fluffy”), shaping it into little squares and then covering it with a lime glaze. The bars’ citrus-packed flavor makes them perfect for spring, and their green color would be great for St. Patrick’s Day! For those of you who want a break from chocolate brownies but don’t want to give up the dense, chewy texture, make these! Lime-lovers will go crazy…and if you aren’t a lime lover, you can use lemons instead. In the case that you’re a person who doesn’t like the taste of chocolate, lime, or lemon, I totally take back the part where I said you were a good, smart, capable, tasteful person. Just kidding! I think.

Enjoy these beauties!

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Fresh Lime “Brownies”

For the bars:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 tsp lime zest

2 Tbs lime juice

2 large eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

For the glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 Tbs lime juice

2 tsp lime zest

1-2 drops green food coloring, if desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8″x8″ glass pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Using your fingers, combine the lime zest with the sugar until well-incorporated. Then beat  the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lime zest. Mix in the flour and salt until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing down the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden-brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool bars completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, lime juice, lime zest, and food coloring. Spread the glaze over the cooled bars and allow it to set before slicing.

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(Recipe adapted from Budding Baketress)

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