Sunday, August 12, 2012

Classic Lemon Bars

Going back through my archives, I was surprised to see I hadn't posted this recipe yet. When we bought this house and inherited the over-achieving lemon tree, it was one of the first recipes I perfected. I combined a few different recipes to get to what I think is the perfect ratio of buttery shortbread crust to creamy, lemony custard. These bars are surprisingly simple to make and always a big hit at potlucks and get-togethers. The deep lemony flavor makes for a great summer dessert. But it's also a nice unexpected treat around Christmas, too. If you like lemon, give these a try. You won't be disappointed!

Classic Lemon Bars
(Makes about 12 bars)

1/2 c. cold butter
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest

2 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
juice and remaining zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. flour
pinch of salt

1/4-1/2 c. confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper, or aluminum foil sprayed with oil (do not skip this! it's key to getting the bars out of the pan in one piece).

Zest 2 fresh lemons. Measure out 1 Tbsp. for the crust. Set the remaining zest aside for the filling.
To make the crust, cut the butter into flour and confectioner's sugar until crumbly. Stir in 1 Tbsp. lemon zest. (If you have a food processor, pulse the butter, flour, confectioner's sugar and lemon zest together for 10-15 seconds until crumbly and sand-like.) Press mixture into parchment- or foil-lined pan. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes until light brown.

Meanwhile, juice your previously-zested lemons. Combine lemon juice, remaining zest, eggs, granulated sugar, 2 Tbsp. flour and pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth.

As soon as the crust comes out of the oven, pour the topping over the top. Return the pan to the oven and bake another 25 minutes until lemon topping is set. (Don't worry if it gets brown in some areas - the confectioner's sugar you add before serving will cover this up.)

Let sit 15 minutes. Remove the entire "cake" by lifting up on the sides of the parchment paper or foil. Set on a wire rack or cool counter to finish cooling.
Cool completely before cutting.

Just before serving, dust generously with confectioner's sugar. (A small sifter works well for this. One warning: don't add the confectioner's sugar too early, or it will just get absorbed by the lemon layer.)

Enjoy the lemony goodness!


Francesca said...

A friend of mine just gave be 5 kilos of lemons from her garden...I was going to make limoncello but this looks much better! I am following you from Rome! I've been to Cape Cod in the 1970s, I was babysitting for two children, what a beautiful place.

Me And My Sweets said...


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Medeja said...

They look great! They should be full of lemon flavor.. yumm!

Amy said...

This looks so delicious. Don't you just love fresh lemons that you can pick from your tree? :) I wish I have one in my own yard/garden. Well, I guess I can always drive to my In-Law's place to pick some (they are my fresh fruit supplier! hahaha)

Theresa said...

I love lemon & these look so good! I will have to try your recipe.
Thanks, Theresa @