Lemon bars are notorious for being delicious. I’ve never met a person that was like, “no thanks, man. I don’t like lemon bars.” You know why? Because everyone loves lemon bars.*
You know what else is great about lemon bars? They’re pretty darn easy. Also: they taste like summer. How could you possibly go wrong? Answer: you can’t!
The hardest part about this endeavor was finding which lemon bar recipe I wanted to use. In the end, I decided to go with a traditional lemon bar. Why mess with a classic?
*This is not backed by scientifically accurate data and is perhaps skewed data. My point still stands.
THE RECIPE – LEMON BARS
For the crust:
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
For the filling:
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the topping
- powdered sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Locate a 9×9 pan, but don’t grease it. (Or, if you’re like me, and don’t have a 9×9 pan, you can pull your 8×8 pan out of the cupboard, shrug, and use that one. It will totally suffice.)
In a smallish bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.
DO NOT MELT YOUR BUTTER. This all works better if it’s not super-softened. Do you remember what we did to make the crust for the Blueberry Crumb Bars? It will be similar to that.
One time I was at the dentist and since my dentist is fancy and has TVs, I kind of couldn’t help but watch it, and anyway, the Barefoot Contessa was on and she told me to cut the butter into cubes before doing anything with it, and I decided to take that advice to heart, and you know what? It works great.
All that to say: add the butter. You can use your pastry cutter to blend it into the flour/sugar mix, or you can use your hands. In the interest of saving myself one more thing to wash, and also because it seemed fun, I used my hands. Knead the butter into the dry mix until it magically turns into a dough.
I stopped when I was able to squish it into a ball.
Press the dough into your pan.
Bake for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, it’s time to make the filling!
In a small-to-medium bowl (or, if you’re lazy like me, use the same bowl), crack open your eggs and beat them slightly. Add your (regular) sugar, the remaining 2 Tablespoons of flour, and the lemon juice and lemon zest that you totally already acquired from your lemon.
You didn’t zest and juice your lemon already? You should probably do that.
Whisk it all together. Yes, whisk. Leave that mixer in the cupboard.
Pour your lemon mixture over the still-warm crust.
Bake 15-20 minutes until the filling layer is set (give it a nudge and see if it wobbles. If it wobbles, it’s not set.) Don’t let it get too brown. I went 20 minutes exactly, though I stopped and investigated its status at 15.
Place your pan on a cooling rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Let cool long enough so as to not burn your tongue, then eat. Refrigerate when not in use.
As expected, these were a perfect sweet yet tangy edible summer. That’s right. I’ve captured summer into baked good form and ATE IT. Flaky on top, lemony in the middle, buttery crust on the bottom. Bliss.
[Can regular people actually make this? Is it easy?] There are two steps to this. The crust, and the filling. Neither one was challenging. This might possibly be the easiest lemon bar recipe ever, except for the fact that my mom has one that she claims is the easiest one ever. BATTLE OF THE LEMON BARS. At any rate: yes, it’s easy.
[Did it require any weird gadgetry or cookware?] By now, you should have acquired a means of zesting and juicing a lemon (I mean, because you’ve been making ALL my recipes, right?), but if not, you’ll need that. Otherwise: you should have everything else.
[How much did the ingredients cost?] The only thing I had to buy for this recipe was a lemon. I paid 29 cents. And I remember this because I had to use my debit card because I had no cash and no change. The store lost money on that sale. Sticking it to the man, one lemon at a time. #OccupyLemons.
[Does it taste as good as it looks? Does it only look good because it was so well photographed?] It’s a pretty photo, but until photographs can capture tastes and smells… it’s inferior to the real, live product. In other words: YES. Amazing. Way better than any photo could indicate.
[Weight Watchers Points+] If you cut the bars into 16 pieces, your bars will be 4 points each.
[Final recommendation] Perfect for snacks or desserts or picnics or whatever else you might want a lemon bar for. Go forth and bake.