One of the most important things in baking is using the proper ingredients.   Not only proper amounts, but proper amounts of the right ingredients.   After picking up this week’s food share from Earth, Sky, Time we at T2 were pretty convinced we had lemon grass.   I was pretty excited to bake with lemon grass, mainly because its something I’ve never worked with before.  And as it turns out, I still haven’t.

I was looking into lemon grass scones (I thought it would be a nice touch to a basic white chocolate scone), when I stumbled upon lemon grass lemon bars.  I love lemon bars, and thought the freshness of lemon grass would be a welcome change to the standard summer go-to bar.   I picked up all the ingredients, got half way into the baking process, when Jessie (the self-titled sous chef of the summer) realized we instead had lemon balm.  Lemon grass uses its stalks for flavor — lemon balm the whole leaf.

 Our Midwestern roots led us to say “Oh bother,” but when life gives you lemons (or lemon balm in this case), make lemonade (or lemon balm bars!).   So we kept on going, and in the end came away with a deliciously earthy lemon bar.   They didn’t look too pretty at first (the lemon balm made the top an interesting shade of speckled green thanks to the use of leaves instead of the lighter lemon grass stalk), but after a good baking and a liberal sprinkling (pouring) of powdered sugar and lemon zest, the bars went so fast we almost didn’t get a picture.

 Plus, lemon balm is full of health benefits.   It has been used as a natural relaxant, promoting sleep and digestion as well as rich in antioxidants.   Might as well pack some more punch into dessert.  Get some antioxidants, get some dessert, but most importantly get baking!

 With my sous chef, Jessie. Lacking a food processor, we improvised with a hand blender.

 Lemon balm, not lemon grass!

 Chopped lemon balm leaves.

 The lemon balm lemon bars went so fast I almost didn’t get this photo!

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