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lemon bars

February 13, 2011

One of my cheap, white mixing bowls is stained yellow at the bottom.  That’s how many times I’ve made these lemon bars because they’re so tasty.  Ok, admittedly, it’s also because my mixing bowl is not made of the sturdiest, stain-resistant plastic in the world.  But it’s also because these are delicious lemon bars.

My college roommate introduced me to this lemon bar recipe.   Even if she hadn’t been a great friend to me, I’d love her for this recipe.  Even if she hadn’t given me a huge jar full of Hot Tamales for my 22nd birthday (have I mentioned how much I love them?), I’d love her for this lemon bar recipe.  Even if she hadn’t nursed me back to health when I forgot to soak the black beans and stupidly thought “Eh, they’ll be crunchy, but they’ll still make a decent dinner,” I’d still love her for this lemon bar recipe.

Too much hulla-balloo about some stinkin’ lemon bars?  No, I do not believe it is too much.

Only problem is that I, once again, forgot to take pictures of the final product before I rushed off to class.  Actually, I made these a while ago, so this was before the snickerdoodles picture failure.  Technically, this was the first “Whoops, I forgot to photograph” recipe.  Anyway, I gave some of them to the beloved carnivore and some of them to our wonderful friend Sarah who had a lot of studying to do (lemon bars are brain food, I swear).  Sarah very kindly took a few pictures for me.  Look how good they look on top of her science-y papers.


Lemon Bars

Courtesy of My College Roommate

For the crust / shortbread like base:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch salt

For the lemon filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 TBSP lemon juice (from 3-4 lemons)
  • 6 TBSP flour
  • grated zest of one lemon

For the topping:

  • Approximately 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients for the crust (flour, powdered sugar, and salt).  Cut the butter into small cubes.  Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  You can also use a food processor to do this step – put the dry ingredients and butter in the bowl of the food processor and pulse several times, or until the mixture resembles small crumbs.

Grease a 9 x 13 pan, preferably Pyrex, and pour the mixture into the pan.  Use your fingers to pat it into an even layer.  It’ll look like it would never be an edible crust, but trust me, when the butter part melts in the oven, it will all come together.

Tap the pan on a flat surface a few times to get rid of any air bubbles.  Put the pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes or until it’s just started to turn a light brown at the edges.

While that is in the oven, mix together the other ingredients.  First, crack the four eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat well.  Add in the flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and mix everything together.  Don’t forget the lemon zest – it’s critical, and it’s a great excuse for me to show off my new microplane zester which I love, love, love.  Thank you, Emily, for convincing me that I needed one.  Thank you, Mom, for the Williams-Sonoma gift card.

When the crust has come out of the oven, pour the lemon/egg/sugar mixture over it.  Rotate the pan until all of the lemony goodness has formed an even layer.  Tap the pan again to get rid of any air bubbles.  Put it back in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool.   Once the pan has cooled completely, top it with the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.  A sifter or strainer works well here, just put the sugar in the sifter or strainer and quickly sift or strain it over the lemon bars.   Cut the lemon bars into whatever size lemon bars you want – we believe in freedom here at Em and Am.

Enjoy, and share with friends – especially those who have a lot of science to read.

P.S. I’ve tried this with lime juice and lime zest and it’s delicious, but it’s still yellow because of the egg.  Add a bit of green food dye if you want to make them green.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Emily permalink*
    February 13, 2011 6:35 pm

    Glad I could introduce you to the microplane zester. I remember when my mom first offered to get me one years ago, I was skeptical since at that point I had never found a reason to zest anything. Now I zest just to use the zester.


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