Lemon bars are such a simple and delicious dessert that often seem to be forgotten. In fact, one of my uncles calls lemon bars “funeral bars” because he only ever seemed to eat them when they were brought for a potluck after a funeral. I’ve tried a few recipes in the past and none were quite what I wanted. Either they were too tart or sweet or the crust was too crumbly.
But then I found this recipe, which claimed to be the best. And I totally agree – these are the best lemon bars I’ve ever made! The crust is tender but gives the perfect support and isn’t too flaky or messy. The lemon layer is nice and tart but not overly sweet. An overall perfect combination – enjoy!
For the Crust:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp butter (1 1/2 sticks), at cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp grated lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 3 to 4 large lemons)
1/3 cup milk
Pinch of salt (about 1/8 tsp)
Yield: 24-32 pieces (depends how big/small you cut them!)
Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil.
For the crust: Stir together the flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt (this can be done in a food processor or in a large bowl by hand). Add the pieces of butter and cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers (taking care not to melt the butter too much – you might try freezing the butter and grating it into the dry ingredients on the large holes of a box grater) or process in the food processor for 8 to 10 seconds and then as needed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer on the bottom and about 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
For the filling: whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour in a medium bowl and then stir in the lemon zest, juice, and milk to combine.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and pour the filling onto the warm crust (it’s important that the crust is still warm!). Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until the filling feels slightly firm to the touch. Cool the bars to room temperature, sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, and cut into bars.
Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe