Good morning! Let’s talk food–I absolutely LOVE lemon bars! They are the perfect foil for the winter doldrums. Their color is magical, their flavor a creamy-citrus burst of sunshine. An exaggeration? Try them. While baking these bars, I wondered, “Now why don’t I make these more often?” They are simple, beautiful, and by far the best lemon bar I have ever eaten. Perhaps that is precisely why I don’t make them regularly– I can’t stop shoving them in my mouth! Seriously. I’m hoarding them right now. I’ve come up with several excuses over the last three days to not share them with neighbors. Ridiculous.
The bar itself is thick and firm. The texture is a luxuriant creaminess, backed by a nice flakey crust. That silky…mouthfeel, for lack of a better term, leads into an incredible citrus-y zing that just ‘pops’. They’re simple, incredible, and in just a few hours you too can be hoarding them away from friends and family. See you next week!
As with all good food, the quality of the ingredients matters. I try to use organic, locally-sourced, whenever possible, though I understand that may not always be practical. In this particular recipe, pay special attention to your eggs– free-range organic really makes a difference.
The recipe: Lemon Bars
For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 extra-large eggs (at room temperature)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4-6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting.
Pre-heat oven to 350°F and liberally butter a 9×13 by 2 inch baking sheet.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Gather mixture and form a ball. Flatten dough and press into buttered pan with floured hands, building up a 1/2 edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.