A few years ago, I used to make Lemon Bars (or squares) quite often. I had a really good recipe that was tart but sweet. The only thing I didn’t like was how sticky they were when eating. It was easier to eat them with a fork than with your hands, which shouldn’t be the case for bar cookies.
I found a new recipe in the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion that seemed like it was worth a try. The amount of lemon juice and lemon zest foretold a lemony, tart taste. I had tried the Cook’s Illustrated version before, but had not been impressed.
One of my favorite people at work, Montie, is leaving to go pursue a dream to work in the entertainment industry. His one request before he left was that I make Lemon Bars again. I decided to try the King Arthur recipe, although it is always dangerous to try a recipe out for the first time on a crowd.
We had a going away party for him that was well attended. As I descended the stairs to go to the conference room, I could hear the gathered voices rising into the roar of a crowd.
I carried the lemon squares on a tray as eager hands reached for a treat. I could see Montie fighting his way towards the lemon squares shouting, “Out of my way!” so he could grab one of his favorite desserts.
The King Arthur Lemon Squares were a hit. One friend commented that she usually doesn’t like Lemon Bars because they taste too “eggy”. This recipe does call for four eggs, but is not eggy in the least. All you can taste is delicious lemon curd atop a shortbread crust. Heaven if you like lemon.
I forgot to take a photo of the lemon bars as I was exhausted last night when making them. They were so good that I’ll make them again soon and publish a photo.
- 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (4 ounces) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- Confectioner’s Sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch, 11 x 7 inch or similar sized pan.
- To make crust: In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, your fingers, or a mixer, cut in the butter, mixing to form course crumbs. Press the crumbs in the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 20 minutes or until it’s light brown.
- To make the topping: In a medium sized bowl, beat together the eggs, granulated sugar, and the lemon juice until smooth. Stir in the flour, salt and lemon zest.
- Pour the topping over the hot crust, return the pan to the oven and continue baking for about 25 minutes or until the top appears to be set. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Cut and sprinkle with confectioners sugar just before serving.
- Nutrition Information: (1 square, 58g): 183 cal, 7 g fat, 3 g protein, 10 g complex carbohydrates, 17 g sugar, 70 mg cholesterol, 117 mg sodium, 44 mg potassium, 82 RE vitamin A, 4 mg vitamin C, 1 mg iron, 10 mg calcium, 36 mg phosphorus.
Use fresh lemons instead of bottled lemon juice.[br]
Lemon Squeezers work really well to get most of the juice out of a lemon.[br]
Roll the lemons on the counter or microwave for a few seconds to break down the cell walls making juicing easier.[br]
Use a Microplane Zester to grate the zest before you cut and juice the lemons. A great deal of the lemon flavor comes from the zest.[br]
While preparing the rest of the topping, let the zest soak in the lemon juice. This will enhance the lemon flavor.[br]
Consider coating the pan with two intersecting layers of aluminum foil creating a sling and greasing or spraying with baking spray. This will allow you to remove the bars in one piece and cut them on a cutting board instead of the pan. It’s easier and saves your pan from scratches.