If you are trying to watch your sugar intake you might want to turn your head. You have been warned.
Lemon Balm is a pretty invasive herb. Like mint, it will crowd a herb patch in every way possible.
I have problems keeping it at bay but I never want to be without it.
After harvesting, washing and spinning lemon balm dry in my salad spinner, I keep it in a Tupperware container upside down in the refrigerator.
Place paper towels on top before you snap on the lid and then turn it over. Any wetness that might be left after a good spin should absorb into the towels. If you spin well there may not be a lot of residue.
You can make wonderful vinaigrette, cakes, breads and these bars.
Lemon Balm Meringue Bars
Preheat to 350 degrees.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 cup butter
Stir flour and sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press evenly into an 8 inch square baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile put together the topping.
1 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whole lemon balm leaves
2 T all purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
3 T lemon juice
4 eggs (one separated
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
In a food processor process sugar and lemon balm leaves until leaves are ground fine. The sugar will be pretty green colored. Hold back 1/8 of this sugar for the meringue. Transfer the remaining cup of sugar to a bowl and whisk in flour and baking powder. Add lemon juice and 3 eggs and one yolk, reserving the one white for the meringue in a separate bowl, blend well.
As soon as the crust is baked, pour this topping over the crust and return to the oven. Bake an additional 20 minutes until the top feels barely firm.
Meanwhile with an electric mixer whip the reserved egg white with 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tarter.
Gradually add the reserved lemon balm sugar as you whip into stiff peaks.
Pull the bars from the oven and ice with the meringue. At this time turn the oven to broil. Broil the meringue to light brown, watching closely as it only takes a few minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and then cut into bars. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.