Lemon Bars

June 29, 2020
Lemon Bars are the classic lemon lover's treat.  Tart and sweet at the same time, and loaded with luscious lemon flavor -- what's not to love?  As a bonus, they're truly not hard to make either.
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Lemon Bars Image

If you love lemon desserts, you're most likely familiar with classic Lemon Bars.  There are truly few other desserts with their characteristic straight-up pure lemon flavor.

With Lemon Bars' simple tender crust, creamy fresh lemon filling, and traditional powdered sugar dusting on top, their clear lemon flavor shines through.  They're the classic lemon lover's treat, for sure.

The tart and creamy lemon filling is the star of this bar favorite.  It's pretty much a soft baked lemon custard layered on top of a basic shortbread-type crust.  The filling is a simple mix of eggs, sugar, fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour for thickening.

And fresh lemon juice and zest are key here.

There are truly few other desserts with Lemon Bars' characteristic straight-up pure lemon flavor.

Freshly-squeezed juice and lemon zest are what bring the pure, strong lemon flavor to these bars.  And then balancing these with the "right" amount of sugar brings that simultaneous sweet-tart flavor we love.

It tends to be the amount of sugar that sets different Lemon Bars recipes apart.  With some? -- Not enough sugar leads to mouth-puckering, too-tart bars.  With others? -- Too much sugar leads to overly-sweet, watered down lemon flavor.

I like to think this Lemon Bars recipe is middle of the road when it comes to the amount of sugar and lemon flavor. -- The flavor result is definitely pure lemon-forward flavor without being mouth-puckeringly tart.  (If you like your lemon bars even more on the less-concentrated gentler side, I recommend checking out our Lemon-Coconut Bars recipe.)

As a bonus to their fabulous lemon flavor, Lemon Bars are pretty easy to make, too.  And I, for one, love that about them.

Stack of Lemon Bars Image

To get started on a pan full, line the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a 1 to 2 inch overhang on each side of the pan.  This creates what's a called a "sling."  The sling serves two purposes:

1. It keeps the sticky lemon filling from leaking down into the pan, and
2. The foil overhang serves as a means to lift the baked squares out of the pan for easy cutting. 

As a bonus to their fabulous lemon flavor, Lemon Bars are pretty easy to make, too.

Once the sling is in place, next make the crust.

Mix together some flour and sugar, then mix in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan on top of the foil sling, building up about a 1/2-inch lip around the edges to hold in the filling.

Bake the crust for 20 minutes to get it partially cooked.

Making Lemon Bars Crust Image

While the crust bakes, prepare the lemon filling.

Beat together eggs, sugar, and flour with a hearty dose of fresh lemon juice.  Then mix in a tablespoon of lemon zest.

The tart and creamy lemon filling is the star of this bar favorite.

I always mince the lemon zest finely so its flavor is there, but you're not biting into a big piece of zest when enjoying the finished bars.

Then pour and spread the lemon filling over the partially-baked crust.
How to Make Lemon Bars Image

Pop the pan back in the oven and bake an additional 25-30 minutes until the lemon filling is set and the edges are a light golden brown.

Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan.

Peeling Foil Back from Baked Lemon Bars Image

Once the Lemon Bars are cooled completely, use the foil overhang to lift the bars from the pan.  Place the slab of bars on a cutting board and peel the foil away from the edges.

Then, dust the entire top with a coating of powdered sugar.

Dusting Lemon Bars with Confectioners Sugar Image

Use a sharp knife to cut the slab into small bars.

The size you cut the Lemon Bars is entirely up to you.  Since these lemon beauties pack a pretty strong lemon punch, I usually cut them fairly small. -- Maybe about 2 inches x 2 inches.

Cut Lemon Bars on Cutting Board Image

Then you're ready to dive in and enjoy this classic lemon treat!  With their creamy fresh lemon filling, fabulous lemon flavor shines through in every bite.

Truly, lemon lovers won't be disappointed.  Because when it comes to lemon desserts, there are frankly few others around with Lemon Bars' straight-up sweet and tart pure lemon flavor.

Homemade Lemon Bars Image
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lemon bars recipe, how to make lemon bars, lemon bars with fresh lemon juice
Cookies & Bars
American
Yield: about 24-30 bars
Author:
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Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars are the classic lemon lover's treat. Tart and sweet at the same time, and loaded with luscious lemon flavor -- what's not to love? As a bonus, they're truly not hard to make either.
Prep time: 30 MCook time: 50 MTotal time: 80 M

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Filling:
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. lemon zest, finely chopped
  • 2/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • confectioners' sugar for dusting

Instructions:

For the Crust:
  1. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a 1 to 2 inch overhang on each side of the pan (you'll use the foil overhang to lift the baked squares out of the pan). Lightly spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Mix the flour and sugar together in a small mixing bowl. Cut the butter into chunks; add butter to the flour mixture and cut in until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, building up about a 1/2-inch lip around the edges to hold in the filling.
  4. Bake at 350℉ for 20 minutes.
For the Filling:
  1. Beat together the eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice with an electric mixer until well blended. With the mixer on low speed, add the lemon zest; beat until just blended.
  2. Spread the lemon mixture over the partially-baked crust.
  3. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until set and the edges are lightly golden brown. Cool completely in the pan.
  4. When cooled, use the foil overhang to lift the bars from the pan. Place on a cutting board, peel the foil away from the edges.
  5. Dust the top with a coating of confectioners' sugar.  Cut into small bars with a sharp knife.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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