Calling all lemon lovers! Have I got a recipe for you!!
I’ve made lemon bars many times–from a recipe from my first ever cookbook as a young adult: Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, 1987 edition. And friends have asked for that recipe when I’ve brought the dessert to gatherings.
But I’ve found a new recipe that far surpasses the lemon zing of that one: Ina Garten’s Lemon Bars. Wow! These are loaded with sweetness and tanginess. This dessert melts in the mouth and tickles the taste buds with zesty lemon sourness. Oh, scrumptious indeed are these creamy babies. But that is their danger, for eating just one is impossible if you love the tartness of lemons.
And as a testament to how delicious these are, I had my socks knocked off when my mother asked me for the recipe. You see, I brought these to the 4th of July barbecue, and my mom, who expertly bakes delicious old-style European treats, couldn’t eat just one either. And she doesn’t often choose my desserts over her European treats. So I know these are indeed tasty.
- 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1/8 tsp. kosher salt (if using table salt, use less as kosher salt is grainier)
- 6 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp. grated lemon zest (4-6 lemons)
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup flour
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Using mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light (if using a standing mixer, use the paddle attachment).
- Combine the flour and salt; with mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.
- Dump dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Using floured hands, place dough into a 9x13x2 inch baking dish and flatten, pressing to build up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill for 15-30 minutes, until firm.
- Bake crust for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack. Leave oven on for filling.
- Whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. (Although the oil from the zest adds flavor, I let the filling sit for a few minutes so the flavors could meld; I then strained the filling through a sieve to eliminate any graininess from the lemon pulp and zest. I wanted a really smooth and creamy filling.)
- Pour over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set.
- Let cool to room temperature.
- Dust with powdered sugar (if you’ve never “dusted” before, use a sieve to achieve light, even dusting; I actually have a special little cup with a sieve on top just for dusting).
- Cut into squares or triangles and serve.