Crystal Palace Lemon Bars (Sort of)…

My attempt to make the lemon bars from the Crystal Palace was quite the adventure.  While dining at the restaurant for lunch and dinner, you may be lucky enough to find their delicious lemon bars on the buffet… 

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I love a good, tart lemon bar, so I was excited when I found that someone on the internet had been given the recipe from their server at the Crystal Palace.   However, I looked at the recipe with skepticism, because it sounded a bit off… but if it was from the actual recipe from the restaurant it had to be right, right?   Well, part of this blog is to show my failures at cooking Disney recipes and this was one big failure.   The bars’ crust seemed ok, but the filling was weird.  It called for a ton of butter, which just melted down in the oven.  It was a big, liquidy-oily mess and never transformed into yummy lemon bars.

Oh no….

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But now I had a hankering for lemon bars, so I found a promising recipe by Barefoot Contessa, which I will demonstrate here. 

Here are the ingredients.

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First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer,  cream together the butter and sugar until light.  Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just combined. 

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Scoop the dough out onto a floured board and (with floured hands) press it into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet.  Then chill for 15 minutes.  Since I was baking in a glass dish, and I worry about putting a chilled dish into a preheated oven, I chilled the dough ball for 15 minutes first, and then pressed the dough into the dish and put it into the oven. 

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Bake the crust for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool.

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 In the meantime, make the filling.   Wait until the crust is already cooled to start the filling because if you mix the lemon and the eggs too early, the mixture could start to curdle. 

Whisk together the eggs and sugar…  

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Then add the lemon zest…

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Then the lemon juice…

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… and the flour.

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Pour the lemon mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. 

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Let cool and then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Then you can enjoy your delicious sweet and sour treat… yum!

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These are even better once chilled for a bit, since they set up and the filling gets a bit more firm.

This recipe states that it is 12 servings, but I think 24 is more realistic… they are very good, but very rich.   The smaller serving is just enough. 

This lemon bar recipe didn’t exactly recreate the bars at the Crystal Palace (the shortbread crust was similar, but the filling was a bit softer and had a stronger lemon flavor), but it is a good recipe when you have a craving for a lemon bar. 

Do you like lemon desserts or do you prefer chocolate desserts?

 

Crystal Palace Lemon Bars (Sort of)
Serves 24
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For the crust
  1. 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
For the filling
  1. 6 large eggs, room temperature
  2. 3 cups granulated sugar
  3. 2 tbs grated lemon zest (about 6 lemons)
  4. 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1 cup flour
  6. Confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just combined.
  2. Scoop the dough out onto a floured board and (with floured hands) press it into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet. Then chill for 15 minutes. Since I was baking in a glass dish, and I worry about putting a chilled dish into a preheated oven, I chilled the dough ball for 15 minutes first, and then pressed the dough into the dish and put it into the oven.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 - 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.
  4. In the meantime, make the filling.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. Let cool and then dust with confectioners' sugar.
Dining with the Mouse http://www.diningwiththemouse.com/

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Top Five Disney Restaurant Tips  (with toddlers) –

Walt Disney World has great restaurants that are appropriate for children of all ages… especially your toddler.  You will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else that make families feel more welcome.

You really don’t be worried about bringing your toddler to a sit-down restaurant at Walt Disney World.   In fact, it is a good place to teach your child how to act in a restaurant, without being nervous about other diners being disturbed.  With the exception of the very fanciest restaurants on Disney property, everyone expects children to be present and probably has their hands full with their own kids. 

These tips can be applied to families with older children too!

1.  Think carefully about your dining times.  Try to keep your kids on the same dining schedule that they are on at home.  If you normally eat dinner at 5pm, don’t try to have dinner at 8pm in the Magic Kingdom… you are just asking for tired, hungry and grumpy kids.  

Also, since touring the parks can over-stimulate children, consider reserving sit-down restaurants for Breakfast or Dinner… and not for Lunch.  Hopefully, your children are rested at Breakfast and also refreshed for Dinner after an afternoon break at the pool or nap at the resort.   Lunchtime can be tough because kids have had a morning full of fun and the last thing they want is to be strapped into a high chair and have a relaxing lunch.

This is what can happen with a late dinner at California Grill… asleep in the booth before dessert!

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2.  Choose a restaurant with some entertainment.  Character meals and the dinner shows are obvious favorites, but how about enjoying the traditional “Oktoberfest” entertainment at the Biergarten Restaurant (with an invitation for the kids to dance in front of the stage),  participating in coconut races at ‘Ohana, or watching film clips inside you “car table” at Sci-Fi Dine In?   Kids can also view the marine life in the huge aquarium at Coral Reef, see a belly dancer perform at Restaurant Marrakesh, watch their food being cooked right in front of them at Teppan Edo, see the Irish stepdancers at Raglan Road at and interact with the “in character” servers at Whispering Canyon Café and 50’s Prime Time Café.

Here is one of the dancers at Raglan Road (Downtown Disney)…

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3.  Just like at home, be prepared with some small toys in your bag (Fisher Price Little People Disney Princesses and Thomas Trains work best for us) and books to keep you kids occupied while waiting for your meal.  The kids’ menus have activities and pictures to color, but they don’t change very often and your child may be bored if they have to color the same picture at each meal during your trip.

4. If you think your child may need to nap in their stroller during the meal, ask the hostess to park allow you to park it at the table with you.  When my child was very young (8 months old), she couldn’t make it through a whole dinner in the high chair, but would happily lounge in her stroller while we finished our meal.  

 

A Mommy-Daughter lunch at the Brown Derby.  While I enjoyed a Cobb Salad…  she was comfortable in her stroller… and with her book…

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5.  For your Character meals, consider Family-Style or Plated meals instead of Buffets.    Buffets are great because you do not have to wait for your food… it is ready when you are.  However, they can be a logistical nightmare.  If you are lucky to have two adults in your party, you will have to have one “food runner” and one adult stay at the table with the children.   This means that the food will arrive a bit at a time, and it is difficult for everyone to eat together.   If you only have one adult and more than one child, I don’t recommend the buffets at all.   It is no fun to maneuver through a buffet line with children and multiple plates of food.

The Family-Style and Plated meal Character restaurants include Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (there is an appetizer buffet here, but the entrée and dessert is brought to your table), Garden Grill, and ‘Ohana Character Breakfast.   At these restaurants, you can have a seat… all together… and relax as your server brings you your meal and you wait for the Characters to greet you.

Dining at Walt Disney World with your toddler(s) is actually a lot of fun… there are a ton of entertaining restaurants and it is the most family-friendly place you can visit.   Does anyone have any tips to add to this list?

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The PB & J Shake from the 50’s Prime Time Cafe in the Hollywood Studios is a super-simple Disney recipe… and delicious too!  Did you know that you can order anything from the 50’s Prime Time Cafe menu from the bar at the Tune In Lounge next door?  It is a great option if you don’t have a reservation for 50’s Prime Time or if you are in the Hollywood Studios by yourself and you don’t want to sit at a table alone.

I was recently in the Hollywood Studios with my baby girl and it was so hot I knew that only a cold treat would hit the spot.  I decided to order one of the famous PB&J milkshakes from the bar at the Tune In Lounge.  I got it in a to-go cup and it was very rich and yummy.  It wasn’t too peanut-buttery… it almost had a chocolate taste although there is no chocolate in it.

 

 

Last night I decided to recreate this shake at home and it was really easy.  It only requires four ingredients.  Milk (I used skim), Vanilla Ice Cream (I used light ice cream), Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly.

 

 
First, take 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter and 3 Tablespoons grape jelly.  Mix them together.

 

 
Then load up your blender with 3 cups of vanilla ice cream and 1/4 cup of milk.
 

 
Next, top it with your peanut butter and jelly mixture.
 
 
 
Then blend away….  and enjoy!!
 
 
Yum!
 
This shake tasted just like I the original shake at Walt Disney World.  The recipe made a generous amount for two adults (after taking that picture I split it into two glasses, and added a little bit that was left in the blender).  I am sure that Disney uses whole milk and full fat ice cream in their shake, but this lighter version with skim milk and light ice cream tasted just as rich and satisfying. 
 
Oh, and I don’t know if any 50’s Prime Time Cafe fans will notice, but take a look at the kitchen counter in the photos.  When I made this I was staying in my In-Laws’ 1950’s lake cottage and my counter tops were the exact same pattern as the tables in the 50’s Prime Time Cafe!  Their tables are grey and my counters are yellow, but it is fun for a Disney fan like myself.
 
PB & J Shake
Just like the shake at the 50's Prime Time Cafe (and Tune In Lounge)
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  2. 3 Tbs. Grape Jelly
  3. 3 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream
  4. 1/4 Cup Milk
Instructions
  1. Mix Peanut Butter and Jelly.
  2. Place Ice Cream, Milk and Peanut Butter Mixture in a blender.
  3. Blend and enjoy!
Dining with the Mouse http://www.diningwiththemouse.com/
 

 
Let me know what you think about the shake!   Will you make this at home?  Is this Disney treat one of your favorites?

 

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