Greek Yogurt Lemon Bars
3/4 cup (85g) graham cracker crumbs (about 5-6 full sheet graham crackers) 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
6 ounces (168g) brick-style light cream cheese, softened to room temperature 3/4 cup (181g) plain nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons) 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line the bottom and sides of an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the bars out of the pan before cutting. Set aside.
2. Make the crust – Mix the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together in a medium bowl until combined. Evenly press crust into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Make the filling – In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese on high speed until completely smooth, about 1 minute. On medium-high speed, beat in yogurt until completely combined. Then beat in the eggs and egg yolk until combined. Finally, beat in the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until everything is combined and no lumps remain.
4. Pour filling onto the crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the center of the bars no longer jiggles (remove from the oven and gently wiggle the pan to check). Allow the bars to cool at room temperature set on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 3-4 hours or even overnight.
5. Once chilled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. For neat squares, I use a very sharp knife and wipe it clean with a paper towel after each cut. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make ahead tip: Prepare the bars 1-3 days in advance and store covered tightly in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bars can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
STACEY KLAFF, Martial Chef Catering
My name is Stacey Klaff and I’m 32 years old. I’ve been cooking since the ripe age of 5 and haven’t stopped. Throughout high school I took 4 years of culinary classes and as a Sophomore I was accepted to the Art Institute of Phoenix. I had the privilege of being able to take summer workshops and classes at the Art Institute before I even started school and was able to establish some incredible relationships with the chefs there before I even began attending school. I also received a James Beard Scholarship and a Woman Chefs and Restrauteurs scholarship upon graduating high school.
I graduated with honors from the Art Institue of Phoenix in December of 2003 and received the award of Best Portfolio upon graduation. Afterwards, I did an intense externhsip with Master Chef Walter Leible, Certified Executive Chef Eric Watson and Certified Pastry Chef JoAnn Ayers at the school, mostly assisting with the classes as a makeshift teachers assistant and also helping in the day to day operations of the Gallery Cafe, a student-run restaurant.
After graduating I made my way through several different culinary venues: Executive Chef at 21 years of age at a wine and jazz bar, Executive Chef of a corporate catering company, garde manger chef of a unique concept called Wild Greens at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, culinary arts teacher at Cactus High School, and most recently Head Chef for Professional Sports Catering as the chef for the Seattle Mariners baseball team for Spring Training.
When I’m not busy as a chef by day, I’m a martial artist by night. So my goal is to expand my business as the Martial Chef Catering.I’ve been training in martial arts for the last 26 years and it’s a family business run by my Dad and I hence the name Martial Chef Catering. Yume Dojo Martial Arts School operates out of Glendale, AZ and we have been in operation since the early 90’s. Not only am I the assistant head instructor, but I’m a 5th degree black belt and have taught several seminars all over the United States and specialize in female self-defense, kids classes, and more.
That’s pretty much me in a nutshell:
Chef by day, dangerous martial artist by night!!!