If I had to choose a handful of recipes that my family, friends, and co-workers associate me with, these snappy Lemon Bars with the perfect shortbread cookie crust would be a top contender. They have been requested over and over again. And they’ve also been a huge bargaining tool for me. It seems like all I have to do is mention “lemon bars”, and people will magically do as I wish. (I’m quite serious about that!)
I’ve gone through a fair amount of recipes for lemon bars in my life. It seemed like they were all just a bit off in some category – some were just plain eggy and didn’t taste like lemon at all, while others were all crust or a sloppy mess when you tried to cut them. I was left disappointed so many times.
Until I came across Paula Deen’s recipe…
Paula got it right. Except that I might like my lemon bars just a tad more tangy tart than the average, so I added a bit more lemon zest. But by the raves I hear when one takes a bite, I’ve come to realize that serious lemon bar lovers crave that extra liveliness just as much as I do.
If you haven’t yet found that perfect lemon bar recipe you’ve been searching for, and if tangy tart makes your mouth water with delight, I promise you…this will end your longing.
for the crust:
1 c. unsalted butter, softened (not melted)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. powdered sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
for the lemon filling:
6 large eggs
3 c. sugar
4 T. grated lemon zest
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
1 c. all-purpose flour
additional powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with cooking spray and set aside.
To make the crust, combine the butter, flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix with a large spoon or your fingers until well combined. Shape dough into a ball and then pat evenly into your prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until set and just beginning to turn color.
Prepare the lemon filling while the crust is baking. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour mixture over the baked crust and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Although you don’t want to overbake, you don’t want to underbake either, as the lemon filling will not set up properly. My oven bakes a bit on the light side, and I always bake this for 35 minutes. If you find yours not set up enough the first time around, don’t give up on this recipe. Give it another try and increase the baking time. It will work!
Let cool completely, then sift additional powdered sugar over the top. These keep very well on the kitchen counter for a few days, although I do prefer eating them with a slight chill. So I like to store some in the refrigerator and pull them out about 10 minutes before serving. They also freeze well.
Yield: 24 large or 48 small bars
Source: adapted from Paula Deen & Friends – Living It Up, Southern Style
I’m linking up with the following:
Cheryl at TidyMom for I’m Lovin’ It (graduation party ideas)
Allison at Alli ‘n Son for Sweet Tooth Friday (Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Bars)
Robyn at Add a Pinch for Mingle Monday (Cooking Conversion Charts)
Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Monday (Chocolate Frosting)