Summer Lemon Bars

11 May

Isn’t it wonderful when you make something that you truly enjoy eating- something that you would gladly pay money for (that is, if you hadn’t just fixed it up yourself at home)?

I usually find that when I cook or bake foods, I don’t really feel like eating them (though that never really stops me- I eat them anyways!). There’s just something infinitely more appealing about food that someone else prepares for you.

Maybe it’s because after putting so much time into making a dish, you just can’t bring yourself to end its delicious existence. Or maybe it’s just because along the way you’ve so filled yourself up with the spoonful-tastes of sauce and the finger-licks of batter that you’re simply too full to enjoy the final product!

These lemon bars are an exception. Even though I licked up much more than a finger’s worth of batter, I still had room for an embarrassing number of lemon squares after dinner. (I had to make sure they tasted good, after all…!)

They’re so easy to put together, irresistibly bright and tangy, and they freeze well- perfect to save for those afternoons when you’re craving something summery and bright.

Lemon Bars

adapted from David Lebovitz

serves an 8 x 8 in. pan


1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt (I love salty-sweet baked goods, so I added a pinch extra)
8 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Filling:

1 lemon, organic or unsprayed
1 cup sugar
1-2 tbsp water (this was 3 tbsp lemon juice in the original recipe, but I had no extra lemons on hand. The lemon flavor was still fantastic!)
3 eggs, at room temp.
4 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp melted unsalted butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C

2. Line an 8 x 8 in. pan with foil. This is easier if you turn the pan upside down and wrap the bottom with foil to get the lining in the right shape before pressing the foil lining into the inside of the pan.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, 8 tbsp melted unsalted butter, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, stirring until smooth. My “batter” seemed too crumbly, but it turned out great- almost like a sugar cookie!

4. Press the “batter” into the pan using your hands or a spatula.

5. Bake the crust for 25-30 min., until it’s “deep-golden brown”.

6. While the crust bakes, cut the lemon into chunks and remove the seeds.

7. Put the chunks of lemon into a food processor or blender and add 1 cup sugar and 1-2 tbsp water (or 3 tbsp lemon juice), then blend until the lemon is completely broken up. Add the 3 eggs, 4 tsp cornstarch, 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 tbsp melted unsalted butter, then blend until almost smooth (tiny lemon chunks and pulp build character).

8. When the crust is done, reduce the oven temp. to 300ºF/150ºC. Pour the lemon filling over the (hot) crust and bake for 20-25 min., until the filling is just set and stops jiggling.

9. After removing from the oven, let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the giant lemon bar by grabbing the foil. Cut the bars however big you like. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Storage: The bars will keep up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temp. I prefer to store them in the fridge, where they’ll keep for about a week. You can also freeze them for up to one month.


2 Responses to “Summer Lemon Bars”

  1. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide May 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    That crust looks amazing!


  1. Swedish Visiting Cake « munchkitchen - May 27, 2011

    […] Cake. I actually decided on the recipe because I was on a lemon spree (after making some incredible lemon bars) and the cake seemed quite simple to make. The beautiful photos over at honey & jam […]

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