What could be better on a Saturday in May? Uh, eating them!
I have made these lemon bars quite a few times, and they are always a success! Anyone who loves lemons can appreciate the buttery shortbread crust, and the sugary tartness of lemons. Mmmmm.....
I love when my kitchen smells like lemons. Every time I make these it conjures up nostalgic feelings from my childhood when we picked lemons and oranges from the trees in the field. The oils of citrus rinds seem to mist the air, leaving a fresh scent unlike any other. My mom used to put a half of a lemon in the garbage disposal, and for a few times of running it the smell of lemon would linger in the kitchen. I still do this today.
So let's get to the good stuff...the recipe! I LOVE shortbread. Love it! The shortbread crust in this recipe adds such a great texture and buttery flavor to the custardy lemon filling. Yum! is all I can say. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 9x13 pan.
Make the crust first. This will need to cool before you put the lemon filling on top of it to bake it.
2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened. I like it to be just a little chilled.
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp salt
- Cream the butter sugar together.
- Add the flour 1 cup at a time with the salt. Mix on low.
- The dough will be crumbly at first, as it mixes it will start to form a crumbly ball. Soon the dough will start to form and the sides of your bowl will "clean" the sides of your bowl. This is exactly what you want.
- Gather the dough into a bowl, wrap in saran wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Catch up on an episode of Grey's Anatomy, or similar drama.
I find that this dough recipe is almost too much for a 9x13 pan. So I usually break off about a small handful. Exact measurements do not apply here. Just a guesstimate.
Take the dough out of the saran wrap and break off pieces spreading them around your 9x13 pan. Begin pressing the dough into the pan, making sure to evenly press and build up the sides at least 1/2". I usually use the bottom of a small drinking glass to press it evenly.
Bake 15-20 until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.
**Don't let this get too brown, watch it at the 15 minute mark for the coloring. Remember, you will be baking this once more so you don't want it to be too dark by the end result.
Now it's time to get to the puckery goodness...
3 cups sugar
2 tbs lemon zest
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 8-9 small lemons, or 6-7 large lemons)
1 cup flour
Powdered sugar for dusting
- Get your zest first by using a small grater, or zester. It is always easier to get your zest before you cut the lemons.
- Juice the lemons. (I actually love this part!...I know, I need help)
- Whisk the eggs (this is what makes it so creamy and custardy....my mouth is watering as I write this) adding the sugar 1 cup at a time. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, and then the flour. Mix this well so all the flour is incorporated.
- Your crust should be cooled by this time. Pour the filling over the crust and bake 30-35 minutes. Again, begin to watch this at 30 minutes so it doesn't get too brown.
- Cool on rack, and refrigerate for a few hours.
- Before serving dust with your desired coat of powdered sugar.
This is an adaptation from Ina Garten's Lemon Bar recipe.