I’ve often been told I’m a very understanding person. While I can’t say that is true of every person or every situation, I certainly try to be. I try to see both sides, all angles, give the benefit of the doubt (sometimes to my own detriment).
I think this can be (at least partly) attributed to my being the middle child. I have quite literally been stuck in the middle for majority of my life. It’s hard not to see both sides when you’re in between them.
But I wasn’t always the middle child. Oh no, for the first 5 years, 8 months, and 29 days of my life I was the baby.
And then one cold December day in 1997 that all changed. My baby sister arrived. A belated Christmas gift, an early celebration of the New Year.
And I. Was. Pissed.
Seriously. There are photos to prove it. Ones lovingly taken by my mom and stepdad, wishing to capture the moment our family grew, full of more people, more love. And I was having none of it. Nose red from crying, eyes still watery, I’m pouting beside the bassinet in nearly every picture. I sat there, stone faced, refusing to smile at this little bundle of joy that was clearly just around to usurp my title as the baby of the family, and with it all the benefits that being the baby offered.
And boy did she benefit. In truth, we all did. Once my irritation waned and I accepted my new position as the middle child, it was noticeable that all of our lives had greatly improved. Because of her. I’m grateful for her arrival, her presence, for making me who I am, for who she is.
My younger sister is intelligent, effervescent, and as strong-willed as they come. She has a loving and generous heart, capable of caring for anyone who crosses her path. Her work ethic is a rare find in most employed adults, and practically non-existent in kids her own age. She is funny, adventurous, and thoughtful. She’s the baby.
And what the baby wants, the baby gets. She asked for lemon bars (again) for her birthday. And I made them (again), this time substituting half the lemon juice and zest for the lime versions. They’re middle child made and little sister approved.
Lemon-Lime Bars (makes one 9x13 pan)
For the crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups flour
For the filling:
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 2 limes
½ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and spray with baking spray. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together. Add the flour, ½ cup at a time, mixing until a crumbling dough forms. Press into the bottom of prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes, until edges are just barely golden brown and center no longer looks wet.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack while you prepare the filling.
In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, and zest. Stir in the juices and flour, whisking until smooth.
Pour over baked crust and return to oven for 30 – 35 minutes, until center is set.
Completely cool on wire rack before place in fridge for 4 hours, or overnight.
Before serving dust generously with powdered sugar.
*adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe