I’ve been rediscovering my passion for baking since deciding to “end diet culture” for myself, and let me tell you, it has been LOVELY. I discovered Sally’s Baking Addiction when looking for a cream cheese frosting recipe, so when my husband idly mentioned not having had lemon bars in a long time, I immediately searched her site to see if she had a recipe, which of course she did.
The things I wanted in a lemon bar recipe were:
- Not terribly difficult to make
- Uses fresh lemons
- Didn’t require any special equipment (I generally live by Alton Brown’s ideology that most unitaskers aren’t necessary, with the exception of a great citrus press and a few other things)
Sally’s Baking Addiction came through with this recipe (originally found on her website):
- 1 cup (230g; 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons (265g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons (48g) all-purpose flour
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup (240ml) lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
- optional: confectioners’ sugar for dusting (Deb note: I did this, it’s pretty, do it!)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking pan* with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished bars out (makes cutting easier!). Set aside.
- Make the crust: Mix the melted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir to completely combine. The dough will be thick. Press firmly into prepared pan, making sure the layer of crust is nice and even. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside until step 4.
- Make the filling: Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.
- Pour filling over warm crust. Bake the bars for 22-26 minutes or until the center is relatively set and no longer jiggles. (Give the pan a light tap with an oven mitt to test.) Remove bars from the oven and cool completely at room temperature. I usually cool them for about 2 hours at room temperature, then stick in the refrigerator for 1-2 more hours until pretty chilled. I recommend serving chilled.
- Once cool, lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares before serving. For neat squares, wipe the knife clean between each cut. Cover and store leftover lemon bars in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Some advice from my experience making this:
- READ AHEAD. This recipe isn’t super-complicated, but it’s best to prepared, and you can only do that by reading ahead.
- GET EVERYTHING OUT YOU NEED FOR THE WHOLE RECIPE. This isn’t just for this recipe, this is for anything you’re cooking/baking. Just get everything out so that once you’re hands are covered in butter and flour, you’re not opening a cupboard and making more of a mess than you’ll already have on your hands (haha, on your hands… *long sigh*).
- TRUST THE PROCESS. There were a few times while making these that I thought (or said aloud) “is this what I’m supposed to be doing?” “this parchment paper is going to give the edges weird creases” “warm crust? So should I let the hot crust cool to warm?” but I just followed the instructions (and Sally’s tips, found throughout and after the recipe in her blog post) and trust me, these bars were utter perfection.
Bonus tip: I love my Pampered Chef tablet stand my mom got me for my birthday (or this similar one on Amazon). It’s so helpful to just keep in one spot when reading one of the 8 million recipes I have pinned!
I’ve made a lot of other desserts in the past few months, too, and I’ll be sharing recipes and reviews for them, too. What is your favorite dessert? Do you have a recipe you’re willing to share? I’d love to try it!