Everyone knows Amy Atlas. She’s the pretty blonde genius behind the the dessert buffet craze that has literally changed the wedding industry. For the far more delicious of course. Well, not everyone knows that aside from crafting some of the loveliest sweets a girl could ever imagine, she is also one of the loveliest of women who just happened to write one of the loveliest of books I’ve ever seen. And she’s chosen SMP to debut this inside peek at one of her (and my) favorite chapters! Oh and did I mention there is a recipe involved? And a GIVEAWAY? Sigh.

The book, Sweet Designs, takes you behind the scenes and gives you a front row seat to Amy’s crazy skills. She shares recipes, design and presentation ideas and seriously steal-worthy concepts for planning and executing your own Amy-inspired dessert table. It’s every dessert lover’s dream come true and quite honestly, I can’t believe that Amy is spilling all of her too good to be true secrets. Like the recipe for lemon bars, so good, that just might make you cry.

all photos by Johnny Miller

“I’ve served these gorgeous squares with and without the powdered sugar, as the perfect ending to any dinner that calls for a zesty dessert. They maylook fragile but they hold up well when transporting.” –Amy Atlas

Makes 16 bars.

FOR THE COOKIE CRUST:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar plus extra for dusting
teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces

FOR THE LEMON FILLING:
1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ cup flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and pre-heat oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8- × 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil in the bottom of the pan, allowing excess foil to hang over the sides. Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and butter and mix on medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse wet sand. Don’t overmix or let mixture come together into a dough.

3. Firmly press the dough into the bottom of the pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup to firmly press the mixture down. Chill dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.

4. Bake until light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

5. Meanwhile, make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and cornstarch until combined. Add the lemon juice and eggs and whisk until combined. Strain the mixture into a bowl.

6. Pour the filling over the baked crust and bake 30 minutes more, or until the filling does not jiggle when tapped. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then refrigerate at least 2 hours to set.

7. Cut the lemon bars into 16 equal squares. Use a small offset spatula to remove them from the pan. Tap a bit of confectioners’ sugar through a sieve over the top of the bars. Arrange 5 or so on an oval platter and set on the table. Replenish as necessary. The lemon bars will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

Thank you so much to Amy Atlas for sharing this with us! And now for the REALLY good part! Amy is giving away 1 book to a very, very lucky SMP reader. And if you simply can’t wait, you can buy the book right here. Okay, here’s how you enter:

Prize: Sweet Designs by Amy Atlas

To Enter: TWEET the following – I want to win a copy of @amyatlas book #SweetDesigns from @stylemepretty. You can add a second entry by  sharing this post on facebook. Just click the share button under this post!

Winner: We’ll choose a person at random from the tweets and shares and the winner will be announced next Friday, May 18th!

xoxo, Abby