A little tail about lemon bars …
When I was a kid there where a few recipes my mom made that no one
could top. She is a really good baker (hence where my interest in the subject
came from) but part of it is my own bias. Something I have learned in my
adult years, since even her recipes aren’t exactly the way I remember them.
But that is where my journey with baking and cooking began. You see, I am
constantly playing with recipes using my moms tried and true ones as a
A few weeks ago I got the call to cater a wedding and my mom’s Lemon
Bars immediately came to mind for the couples dessert table. They had to
have my mom’s out of this world, amazing lemon bars. But just like I
mentioned above, this turned into more of an adventure in discovering the
perfect combination of ingredients or techniques to re-create the lemon bars
I loved as a kid.
My mom texted me a picture of a handwritten recipe, which in my opinion is
always where to find the most legit recipes. She also told me not to cut
corners, that I HAD to use a glass 9×13 inch baking pan lined with
parchment paper. My mother knows me so well and knows I will ignore
details like that if I think I can. Alas, she was correct. For whatever reason
lemon bars end up tasting a little metallic when you use a metal baking pan.
You will want to cut your parchment paper larger than the glass baking pan.
Enough to line the bottom, sides, and to pinch over the sides of the
container. This makes it easy to lift the lemon bars out after they are done
Tools you will need:
-Glass 9×13 inch baking pan
-Two mixing bowls
There is another benefit to this awesome recipe, no stove top cooking for
your filling! Just mix it all together with a whisk and bake. Perfect for
Here is where I had to get creative…
My secret family recipe had a flaw and a pretty big one. Every time I went to
cut the squares the filling would detach from the shortbread crust!! They just
did not seem to get along very well and the filling wanted to see other
people. Luckily I found a trick for fixing their issues. They just go so well
together, we couldn’t throw away their union over one little issue (he he!). I
grabbed a fork right after I pulled the shortbread out of the oven and stabbed
the crust creating little holes. The holes welcomed some lemon filling into
the crust and helped them stay solidly connected after the final bake.
-1 cup unsalted butter, melted
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
-2 cups granulated sugar
-6 tablespoons all purpose flour
-6 large eggs
-1 cup lemon juice (about 8 lemons) – I juiced by hand. Real lemons
are also key to making it taste homemade and authentic.
*powdered sugar for dusting
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and sides of a glass
baking pan with parchment paper, folding over the sides of the pan for easy
lifting out at the end.
2. Make the Crust: mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt together
in a medium bowl. Add the flour and mix until completely combined. Press
dough firmly into the prepared pan trying to create as even of a layer as
possible. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.
Remove from oven. Grab a fork and poke holes through out the crust
(careful not to push all the way through). This will help the crust stick and
hold in place.
3. Make the Filling: Whisk the flour and sugar together in a medium bowl.
Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until combined.
4. Pour filling over the baked crust. Bake the bars 22-26 minutes, until the
filling is no longer jiggly. Give the pan a little shake to make sure before
pulling it out. Remove from the oven and let sit until it is room temperature.
This could take 1-2 hours. Then put in the refrigerator another 1-2 hours
until completely chilled. The lemon bars will be best served cold.
5. Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhanding
paper on the sides. You can dust or cover with confectioners' sugar
(powdered sugar). When cutting the squares clean the knife between each
cut, this will make for neatly cut bars.
**Bars can be refrigerated and kept for up to one week
**Can be stored in the freezer for up to three months