Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

Lemon Bars with Shortbread CrustThere is never a shortage of lemons at our house due to the generosity of our neighbors Peter and Chris, who over the years have supplied us with their bounty of fresh, home grown Meyer lemons. I have used the juice of these lemons in soups, salad dressings, cakes, cookies, lemonade and an occasional Lemon Drop martini!

Meyer lemons are naturally sweeter than regular lemons (which are more acidic) so I prefer to use these for this recipe. Meyer lemons are seasonal and not found in many markets so any store bought lemons will do. Just make sure to always firmly roll the lemons to release the juices, so nothing goes to waste!

These lemon bars are a perfect combination of a buttery shortbread crust and a zesty lemon filling. The ratio of crust to lemon filling is perfect.

Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

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Lemon Bars with Shortbread Crust

Makes 24 bars or 15 large squares (cut on the diagonal for 30 triangles.)

Thank you Kitty for your help in measuring, sifting, zesting, squeezing, mixing, cleaning, and photographing!

Author Jurga

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup salted butter, 2 sticks, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature

Lemon Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 4 lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Generously grease a 9-by-13 inch glass baking dish with unsalted butter.

Prepare The Crust:

  1. Stir the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

  2. Add the cubed butter a few pieces at a time using the back of a fork or pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  3. Press the prepared crust evenly into the buttered pan.
  4. Bake crust for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven.

While the crust bakes, prepare the filling:

  1. Whisk the sugar, flour and eggs in a large bowl until well blended.
  2. Whisk in the lemon juice and grated lemon peel.
  3. Pour the filling over the hot crust and bake for about 20-22 minutes, until filling is set in the center.
  4. Cool completely in the pan on a rack before placing in the refrigerator.
  5. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours to allow bars to completely set (I prefer to let them set over night). They are twice as good the next day!
  6. Bring lemon bars to room temperature before cutting into squares. I like to use a pastry scraper instead of a knife to cut through the bars.

  7. Sift powdered sugar over the squares before serving. (See Gr8 tip for using non-melting powdered sugar.)

Recipe Notes

Gr8 Tips:
  • In order to save time, use a food processor to blend the ingredients for the crust. Pulse until all ingredients come together. It will form more of a dough consistency.
  • If you prefer a crispy crunchy crust, chill the prepared crust by placing the pan in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking.
  • An 8 x 10 pan can be used for a thicker bar. Baking time will vary.
  • Sucre Neige Non-Melting Powdered Sugar can be substituted for powdered sugar. It holds up better as it doesn't absorb and melt into the bars like regular powdered sugar. It keeps the lemon bars from looking naked, leaving a nice white fluffy topping. Available through Amazon.com.
  • Try substituting limes for the lemons. You won't be disappointed!
Gr8 Do-Ahead Tip:

The bars can be made up to 4 days in advance. To keep them fresh, keep them tightly covered in the refrigerator. I guarantee they won't last 4 days!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Brenda Perlin | 18th Aug 15

    This looks great Jurga. I love lemon bars! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Claudia Kerns | 18th Aug 15

    These look amazing!! I am definitely going to make once things cool down and I can turn my oven on again!! Thank you!

  3. Judy Tanner | 30th Oct 15

    Jurga, I made your lemon bars for our Monday Night Football group and they were a hit!

    • Jurga | 2nd Nov 15

      Hi Judy, so glad you made (and enjoyed) the lemon bars! A perfect blend of sweet and tart. Thanks for being a Gr8 friend!

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