Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lemon Bars

These yummy lemon bars are the last installment of baby shower goodies. Amazingly, in all my years of baking I had yet to make lemon bars. I'm not sure why I waited so long. Maybe because they seem to be temperamental at times, or because they can be a lot of lemon in one bite. Who knows. The fact that they are so bright and cheery in this gray, dreary winter and spring should be enough of an excuse to whip up a batch.

As I type this I realize that I have a recipe that my neighbor got from me years ago and used every time she made lemon bars, however I seemed to have forgotten this fact and went searching on the computer for a recipe to use. I think I fall back on the internet way too much when looking for information, namely recipes. It is interesting to think about how I used to go to my recipe books and food magazines to get ideas and try new recipes, and now I just type a food name into a search engine and I get more sites than I can visit. My poor cookbooks that are up in my cupboard. I probably need to make a concerted effort to pull them out more often so they don't feel deprived.

Anyway . . . this particular recipe mentioned that it was a lemon bar recipe for lemon lovers. It could be described as more of a lemon custard sitting atop a shortbread. When you look at the photos that accompany the original post, what drew me to it was the almost perfect ratio of lemon to shortbread. The only downfall, it is definitely lemony. I mean a pucker up, tart, lemon flavor. So if you don't go for overly tart and lemony and are looking more for a sweet lemon bar then this recipe may not be for you.

This recipe was very straight forward and easy to make. The only difference for me was that it took much longer for my lemon bars to cook through than the 20 minutes stated in the original recipe. I just kept checking them every 5 minutes or so until the edges were firm. If I recall correctly, the center was still a bit wobbly. After completely cooling, it was easy to pull the aluminum foil out of the pan to cut into squares. I believe I was able to cut my 9x9 square into 36 pieces because I wanted smaller bite sized bars for the shower. Enjoy!

Lemon Bars
Source: Baking Bites

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil (bottom and up all 4 sides).

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend in with an electric mixer at low speed until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. Pour into pan and press mixture down (with your fingers or the back of a spoon) into an even layer. Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.

While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl.

When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until filling is set and does not jiggle when the pan is gently shaken.

Cool completely before slicing. Top slices with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Makes about 24 bars