Lemon Bars

Sweet, tart, sour, crisp, citrusy. Lemon Love. I’m addicted. I love lemons. I love the look of them, the sour taste, the smell of lemons. I especially love the bright citrus flavor they bring to every dish. When I was a child, I ate lemons like normal people eat oranges. Yeah, I was a weird kid. Once I even kicked the ocean beacuse it had the nerve to knock me down, but that’s a story for another day.

I can’t take credit for creating this recipe because I found it in a book that my book club read called The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by JoAnne Fluke. It’s a series of books about baker Hannah Swensen and between each chapter is a recipe. There are a ridiculous number of books in this series, so that means…LOTS of recipes for baked goods. All of the ones I’ve made are terrific. I particularly love her sugar cookie recipe and I’ve used that base to create cookies like my Coconut Lime sugar cookie and some others that haven’t made this blog yet. Anyway, the books (technically I only read the first two) are light, fun entertainment if you’re looking for that kind of book.

For this recipe, of course I’ve made a few changes, but surprisingly NONE to the recipe, just to the preparation of said recipe. I line the 9X13 pan with cooking spray spritzed parchment paper, mostly just to make it easier to get the cooled lemon squares out of the pan. I also make the entire recipe, crust and filling in my food processor. Oh yeah, I’m a rebel. I’ll add these notes in my recipe, just wanted you to be aware of them ahead of time. Ready?  Ok, here we go!

Minutes to Prepare: 15
Minutes to Cook: 55
Number of Servings: 36 (I’ve never gotten more than 30 bars from this recipe, so it’s going to depend on how you cut them)

Ingredients

Crust:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, cold (2 sticks)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Filling:
4 eggs, beaten (just whip them with a fork)
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest (I zest all the lemons that I use, usually 2. ends up being more than 1t, but I like it that way)
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons flour
powdered sugar
Directions
Crust:
Preheat over to 350 degrees and place rack in middle position.
Grease a 9 x 13 pan. I line it with parchment and give it a quick spritz with baking spray so it’s easier to remove and cut
Cut each stick of butter into 16 pieces. (My technique: I cut the sticks in half lenthwise, then turn and cut again so it’s in 4 long strips, then I dice those into small pieces)
Put flour and powdered sugar in a food processor and give it a quick buzz to combine everything.
Add the butter pieces and pulse until the mixture looks like sand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread it out in a greased 9 x 13 pan and pat it down with your hands. Don’t be afraid of it, press firmly and evenly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden around the edges. (I like a crisp crust, so I lean towards the 20 minute mark, sometimes even 5 minutes longer.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove from oven – but don’t turn the oven off!

Filling:
Using the same food processor (You don’t even need to clean it!  Time saving bonus right there. You’re welcome.)
Mix eggs with white sugar. Pulse twice to combine.
Add lemon juice & zest. Pulse twice to combine.
Add salt and baking powder and pulse a few times to combine.
Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sugar off the bottom. Make sure the mixture is completely combined.
Add flour and pulse a few more times. Don’t worry….the mixture is supposed to be very funny.

Pour this mixture on top of the crust.

Place back on the middle rack of the oven.

Bake at 350 degrees for another 30-35 minutes. The top should be set, but may still jiggly slightly. If it looks loose, I’d give it another 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let cool completely and cut into brownie-sized bars. Do NOT be tempted to cut into them before they are fully cooled.
Keep refridgerated in an air tight container. They are good for about 5 days if they can last that long.

One last thing. I’ve been using Meyer lemons for this recipe lately and they produce a sweeter, less tart finished product. If you really want puckered lips tartness, use a regular lemon. The Meyer lemons are a lovely addition AND I’ve been lucky enough to have some fresh from a family member’s tree so that makes then even more amazing. My lemons were larger than normal, if you get them in the store, they’ll be smaller and you’ll need more. 1/2c of juice is what you need and LOTS of zest.  You could also use half Meyer lemons and one half regular.

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