Monday, April 25, 2011

Lemon Bars - Take 2

Oh, how I love lemon bars!  I've always loved lemon everything and have recently made it my mission to find the best lemon bar recipe out there.  In the short time I've been blogging, I've already made lemon bars twice, using two different recipes, thus beginning my mission. 

The first recipe was ugly.  Delicious, but ugly.  I thought the end result was a super delicious filling and a slightly floury crust, but definitely worth the time to make and worth the calories to eat.  

This version of the lemon bar has a much better crust.  It's like shortbread, which I adore.  The filling is slightly more tart than I'm used to, but as I love lemon, that's not a bad thing.  In my opinion they are far more pretty than the first one, and probably equal in desirability for when it comes to lemon bars.

So, I'm pleased with this recipe, but my search is not over.  I believe that the absolute best remains to be discovered.
1 ¾ c. all purpose flour
2/3 c. confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 t. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, cool, cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing

4 large eggs, beaten slightly
1 ⅓ c. granulated sugar
3 T. all-purpose flour
1 T. plus 1/2 t. grated lemon zest (2-3 lemons)
2/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 c. whole milk
pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.  Dot a 13 x 9 baking pan with butter and then line parchment paper.  Dot the sheet of paper with butter and then lay another sheet crosswise over it.

Combine flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is pale yellow and looks like coarse meal.  Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and press it down with your fingers into an even layer.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden, about 20 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325ºF.

While the crust is in the oven, prepare the filling.  Whisk the eggs, sugar and flour together in a bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients.

Pour the filling onto the warm crust and bake until the filling feels firm when barely touched, 20-22 minutes (22 for me).  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.  Use the parchment paper to lift bars out of pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Cut to desired size and sift confectioners' sugar over if desired.  Serve.

If you don't eat these immediately the powdered sugar will soak into the filling, so be prepared to add more later if you really wanted some.
adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker who adapted it from Cook's Illustrated
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  1. We share a love of lemon bars and all things lemon! pretty photo makes me want a bite right now!

  2. I love that you're on the search for the perfect Lemon Bar!! I can't wait to see what it is when you find it! Meanwhile this is very close to my grandma's recipe that I grew up on! So I love it!

  3. I think Lemon Bars - Take #1 was the first of your posts I ever read. These new and improved lemon bars look even more delicious.

  4. The more tart the better in my book. These look lovely! Well done :)

  5. These look really good - I love that you're going to continue your search but WOW - I think you've already found a winner!

  6. wow your picture is beautiful! These bars look soooo good!

  7. These are really gorgeous. Great photo too!

  8. Oh these look amazing! I left a blog award for you over at

  9. Love lemon sweets, never tried making bars though, should try this recipe!

  10. Sorry to hear the first attempt at bars was ugly, but these ones are beautiful lemon bars! I wish I had some right now for my afternoon snack!



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