Mucho Gusto

Lauren’s Lemon Bars

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This is the twenty-first installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Lemons, flour, and eggs

Summer is the ideal time for bright and fruity desserts, and lemon bars fit the bill. A layer of lemon custard sits atop lightly salted shortbread in this tried-and-true bar. What’s more, this recipe is far from labor intensive (you don’t even need a mixer!). 

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons

1 cup salted butter, softened (not melted)

½ cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting

4 eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

4 tbsp lemon juice (this will likely require 2 lemons)

First things first: set your oven to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, mix the flour, softened butter, and powdered sugar in a bowl with a fork. All ingredients should be thoroughly distributed, and the combination should look crumbly. Scrape the contents of the bowl into a greased 9 x 13 pan, and use the fork to press the crumbs down, creating an even layer of shortbread across the pan. Bake for 20 minutes.

While your base is in the oven, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl. This is when you add the additional tablespoons of flour, as well. Mix these ingredients until they are all incorporated. When the shortbread is done baking, pour the liquid mixture over top and place it back in the oven for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the sides have grown slightly brown. Take care not to overbake these; you want the lemon layer to remain a bit gooey under a crispy surface. After the bars have been removed and cooled, dust the tops with powdered sugar to finish!


I made these bars for a birthday, so I added crystallized flowers as a garnish. Should you choose to do the same, all you need is 1 egg white, granulated sugar, a paint brush, and freshly cut flowers. Simply whisk the egg white until it is of a smooth consistency, and use the paintbrush to coat the flower(s) in egg white. Dust sugar over top, and be sure to cover the surface without weighing down the flower. The sugar should have a sparkly sheen to it (if it clumps together, it loses its shine). Allow the flowers to dry in a bright, dry place for 12-24 hours, then place on top of the bars.

Mucho Gusto

Lauren’s Maple Granola

This is the tenth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Rolled oats, almonds, maple syrup 

Baking your own granola will make the entire kitchen smell incredible, not to mention opting for homemade over store-bought granola will save an item on your shopping list the next time you venture out for groceries. Maple syrup pairs with brown sugar for a warm and just subtly sweet flavor, one that pairs well with yogurt, milk, smoothies… or stands alone.

3 cups rolled oats

¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup flax seeds

½ cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

½ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

To begin, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it reaches temperature, scatter your almonds over a baking sheet lined with parchment. Place them in the oven to toast; this should take about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, combine oats, chia and flax seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir until combined. Next, microwave the maple syrup for 30 seconds, and then mix the brown sugar into the syrup until fully dissolved. Add almond extract.

When the almonds are done, add them to the dry ingredients and mix. Then pour the syrup mixture over the dry ingredients, fully coating all of the oats. Spread the mixture evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until lightly browned on top, for about 25-27 minutes. Let cool before breaking into smaller pieces, and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Enjoy!

Mucho Gusto

Lauren’s Goat and Pear Flatbread

This is the fifth installment in Mucho Gusto, a recipe initiative by and for students to help connect us through food in times of isolation. If you’ve got a recipe you think would make a great addition, reach out to us!

Make if you have: Flour, water, olive oil, anything that could constitute a flatbread topping

Makes 2 flatbreads

This dough is incredibly simple, and the end result will look (and taste) like you spent hours on it. The best part is arguably its flexibility… no topping is off-limits. Impress your partners-in-quarantine with crispy, homemade flatbread as a snack, appetizer, or meal. 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon table salt

1 cup warm water

3 tablespoons olive oil (plus about 1 tablespoon extra)

2 handfuls of cornmeal

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

4 ounces of goat cheese

1 pear, finely diced

2 teaspoons balsamic glaze

Any additional (or different) toppings

Start by preheating your oven to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, use a food processor to blend the flour and salt. Add both the warm water and 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and allow the mixture to blend until a dough has formed and clumped together into a ball. This should take a little under a minute. Next, remove the dough from the food processor and knead it on a floured surface for about a minute.

After the minute has elapsed, use a knife to slice your dough in half. Roll each portion out to an oval with about ¼-inch thickness. Take a handful of cornmeal to each baking sheet, and sprinkle it across the pans. Lay each piece of dough on its respective sheet on top of the cornmeal (this will prevent sticking). Finally, use a fork to poke holes across the surface of each flatbread. Place them in the oven for five minutes to par-bake.

Afterward, pull your flatbreads from the oven, and use the extra olive oil to brush a light layer atop each. You will now dress the flatbreads for their second round of baking. Due to the versatility of potential toppings, this step will look different depending on how you decide to garnish the flatbreads. You can truly go in any direction… consider experimenting with eggs, peppers, and onions for a breakfast pizza, or brie cheese and apples for a sweet version. A good rule of thumb is to add some type of cheese prior to the second bake, any sauces, and/or any fruit or vegetable that you want to soften. To make the pear and goat cheese flatbread, spread 2 oz. of goat cheese atop each to create a thin layer, and then sprinkle on chopped walnuts.

To complete the final bake, place both flatbreads in the oven for an additional five minutes. For the last minute, switch the oven setting to broil on high. Upon removing the flatbreads, add any additional toppings. For this recipe, distribute half of the diced pear and a drizzle of balsamic glaze to each flatbread. Serve warm, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Kylie Lato’s Midwest Foodie Blog