I love lemon bars. All of them. I love shortbread, I love lemons, put them together and I’m good. And I’ve always used the recipe from the back of the RealLemon bottle, given to me by a friend’s mother ages ago. They’re good. They’re good enough that I’ve never met a fresh-squeezed lemon bar that I thought, “Yeah, this was totally worth the effort of reaming & zesting.” Until now.
Slate has this deliciously annoying “You’re Doing It Wrong” series. Pie, vinaigrette, macaroni & cheese, chili, guacamole … evidently, we can’t do anything right. And I always read it, and sometimes agree, sometimes scoff. But their lemon bar photo won me over.
I’ve made two pans of these this week, going through two bags of lemons and almost a pound of butter. I’ve eaten more than I should have, definitely, but have also shared - some went to work with my husband, and more to a party, and a friend who loves lemon. But I’ve tweaked the recipe enough that I thought it’d be worth sharing. The crust is sturdy and crisp, and the lemon layer is thick and tart. The original recipe’s crust:curd recipe is off for my taste, but it’s still great (and easily fills a 9x13 pan - though I’d be inclined to up the curd by 1/2 if I tried that again.)
You should make these. Really.
The Lemon Bars I’ve Always Wanted
Adapted from Slate
1 1/3 C + 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 C unsalted butter
2 1/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350. Cut butter into 1 1/3 cup flour, pwd sugar, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pat into greased 9x9 pan, bake until the edges brown (about 20 minutes.) Meanwhile, whisk eggs and sugar together. Gently stir in lemon juice, zest, and flour. Pour into hot crust, reduce oven temp to 315 until set (about 35-45 minutes.) Cool, dust with additional powdered sugar.