Almond Lemon Bars from Rachel Marie Florip- Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Recipe Winner

Anyone who has eaten at our restaurant or utilized our catering services knows that Pine Shed Ribs and Barbecue is more than a BBQ restaurant. On this note, Rachel Marie Florip, Pine Shed Ribs and Barbecue Pastry Chef, recently won the 2016 Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Recipe Contest. Her Almond Lemon Bars won out over numerous other regional entries by other well known chefs.

Here's the exert from the interview that Rachel did with the Girl Scouts.....

How did you come up with your Girl Scout Cookie-inspired recipe?
This recipe was inspired by the cookie and its name. When I think of Savannah I think of sunshine, down-home hospitality, and comfort food. Food that makes you close your eyes, relax and breathe easy for a while.
What is your favorite kitchen tool?
My favorite kitchen tool is a rubber spatula. I don’t like to waste a drop of batter or cookie when I bake so I use it to scrape every last bit.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I was inspired to become a chef after selling cookies at a Farmer’s Market stand in Pendleton, Oregon. I was so humbled by customers’ reactions to something I made. It was an amazing feeling. I knew that I had discovered a talent within myself and was meant to share it with others.
What would you tell a Girl Scout to inspire her to follow her dreams?
If I could pass along a bit of wisdom to a Girl Scout it would be to set a goal and then ask yourself why you want to attain that goal. Then keep asking yourself why until you cannot answer any more; what you have found is your motivation. Persevere through the hardest challenges; in the most difficult times is when you will grow and change the most. Above all, if something is holding you back from working toward your goal, let it go.

Almond Lemon Bars

Ingredients: Crust
•3 Boxes of Savannah Smiles® Girl Scout Cookies, ground in food processor
•1 Cup Flour
•¼ Cup Sugar
•1 Tablespoon Almond Extract
•1 Cup Butter, melted

Ingredients: Filling
•7 Egg Yolks
•¾ Cup Lemon Juice
•1 ½ Cups Sugar
•1/8 Teaspoon Salt
•½ Cup butter, cubed
•¼ Cup Raspberry Jam
•1 Cup Almonds, toasted

Crust:
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” pan and line with parchment paper.
2.Stir together the ground cookies, flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the almond extract and melted butter. Stir to combine.
3.Dump crust into pan and spread evenly to edges, using your hand to flatten.
4.Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown.
5.While still warm, spread the raspberry jam over the crust., leaving ½ inch border. Set aside.

Filling:
1. In a saucepan, combine egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Over medium-high heat, cook the filling to 180 degrees, whisking constantly.
2. Off the heat, add the cubed butter.
3. Return the pot to the stove and continue whisking until all the butter has melted and the filling has become thick.
4. Take the filling off the stove and strain into a glass or heat-proof bowl. Set aside to cool slightly.

To Assemble:
1. Spread the cooled filling evenly over the raspberry-lined crust. Top with toasted almonds. Wrap in plastic and allow to cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
2. Unwrap and cut into bars 3”x4” with some leftover. Remove the bars from the pan and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.