Lip Smacking Lemon Bars…

I am a big fan of lemon desserts…I love the twang it leaves in your mouth and the look it can leave on your face! I will eat rich chocolate desserts, but I would forgo them any day of the week for something fresh and fruity! However, I rarely eat more than a few bites of what I bake and the rest gets passed on to co-workers, friends and family. Most of those food consumers are not big on the fruit especially lemon…they want chocolate, cheesecake, peanut butter, etc. This can pose a problem for me when I am craving something tart and fruitastic. Most of the time a few Starburts will do the trick, but sometimes they will not cut it! While at the market on Tuesday a big bag of bright yellow lemons caught my eye and I knew exactly what my plan was!

If you read Em’s blog, The Repressed Pastry Chef you know she has a slight obsession (yes, Em, you are obsessed) with lemons and recently posted two lemon bar variations. After talking to her she told me to try the shortbread crust from this post along with Ina’s filling recipe. Well that is exactly what I did and let me tell you…the results were freaking amazing! Even my lemon dessert hating boyfriend ate these and thoroughly enjoyed each morsel! So if you love lemon and have a hankering for something fresh and delicious make these lip smacking lemon bars!

Lemon Bars
Adapted from Ina Garten and Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, May, 1998

The Crust
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar — plus extra to
decorate finished bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter — (1 1/2 sticks) at
very cool room temperature, cut into
1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan

The Filling
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

The lemon filling must be added to a warm crust. The 30-minute chilling and 20-minute baking of the crust should allow plenty of time to prepare the filling. If not, make the filling first and stir to blend just before pouring it into the crust. Any leftover bars can be sealed in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to two days.

1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Dot paper with butter, then lay second sheet crosswise over it.

2. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. (To do this by hand, mix flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.) Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2 inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

3. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.

4. Dust with Confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.

36 Responses to “Lip Smacking Lemon Bars…”

  1. Mermaid Sweets — May 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Man those look delish, I have to try that because my dad is always looking for the perfect lemon bar


  2. CJ — May 2, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Thanks for doing the legwork for us on these and combining two recipes. I am going to make these for my lemon lovin’ friend the next time I see her! She will make me her BEST friend. ;)


  3. Em — May 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    They look gorgeous, Jamie and you’re right… I AM OBSESSED with lemon :) But limes are starting to come into the picture too LOL!

    Glad these lemon bars were a success for you. I agree… the combo of the two recipes is the best I’ve found so far!


  4. lisa — May 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Your lemon bars look incredible! The shortbread crust looks perfect, and I love lemon desserts too


  5. Margaret — May 2, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    I did this EXACT SAME THING last weekend after I saw the Repressed Pastry Chef’s posts on lemon bars! I did the shortbread crust with Ina’s filling. They were absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!


  6. Lori — May 2, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    I love lemon desserts too. Sometiems mreo than chocolate. These look fantastic.


  7. Kerstin — May 2, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it and just subscribed! It’s so cute and all your gorgeous sweets (including these lemon bars, which are so perfect for spring!) look amazing!


  8. Tracey — May 2, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    I have been obsessed with lemons lately too so I need to try these! Your photos are wonderful


  9. Leslie — May 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I too love lemon sweets! ahh hell. I love all sweets! LOL


  10. Tessa — May 2, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    These look perfect for spring! The photos are fantastic


  11. n.o.e — May 2, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    These bars look so good! I’m making two lemon desserts next week, but I’ll be thinking of your lemon bars the whole time…


  12. Brilynn — May 3, 2009 at 1:27 am

    Those bars look fabulous! I read the post about the perfect crust too and wondered what I could fill it with…


  13. amritac — May 3, 2009 at 1:31 am

    wow! I’m such a chocoholic, but even then I always choose lemon tarts at my local bakery…I just love how tangy they are….even if they’re soggy at the end of the day…
    Yours look yummy!


  14. Deeba @Passionate About Baking — May 3, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Surreal…just amazing. I’ve got a zing just looking at these beauties!


  15. Pamela — May 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Love the lemon bar! These look good. I’ve heard great things about this recipe and your photos are stunning!


  16. Ingrid — May 4, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Oh, my goodness Jamie we are so right there! I made this about a week and a half ago. Em had given me the same advice. I did though cut way back on the sugar. The kids and I loved them they were perfectly tart and tangy! Yours look great!


  17. oneshotbeyond — May 5, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I think this is the BEST presentation of lemon bars I’ve ever seen. Wonderful job!


  18. Ingrid — May 6, 2009 at 5:24 am

    Hi, I posted about my lemon bars and referenced back to you and Em! Hope it’s ok!

    Happy Wednesday!


  19. dizzi30 — May 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

    I made them this morning.You know,I was a bit sceptical cause I had done some bad lemon bars before but this here is a treasure!It’s so perfect- the soft buttery crust,the creamy and lemony filling mmm…It’s probably the best LB recipe on the internet!


  20. Angela — May 24, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I love lemon squares. I’m trying the recipe as soon as I get the urge. They look really pretty. Good pic.


  21. Tricia — July 8, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Oh I do love lemon bars…these look heavenly!!


  22. Michelle — August 3, 2009 at 1:27 am

    so this shortbread crust looks very tasty. i could use some advice. i am going to attempt a lemon bar cheesecake this week. i want a shortbread crust with a cheesecake layer and a lemon bar layer on top of it. all of it baked. is that even possible? can i parbake the cheesecake layer and then pour 1/2 the lemon bar filling over it and bake it??? i would love ANY help. thanks for posting this recipe. i will definetly use it one way or another


  23. Tanya — April 10, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I have tried a few lemon bar recipes, and have enjoyed them all. They all used a similar base formula, which is unlike the one you have used for yours. My husband did not particularly like the bases I have tried, so I will try your recipe for sure, and see how much it differs. I look forward to it, as I too LOVE lemon anything!


  24. Ericka — June 4, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    I am going to make these for a family get together this weekend. Thanks for the recipe. BTW I made the Snickerdoodle Blondies for my family and they loved them.


  25. Deb — September 11, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I just lost my lemon bar recipe and was trying to find a good one as I promised to take some to a party. I found the Cook Illus. version and was super excited as they have NEVER led me astray -but I was SHOCKED to see milk in the CI version. I knew I wouldn’t like it and couldn’t eat it (lactose issues). So I was just about to try my own combination of the CI crust plus something I found at epicurious, but none of them seemed as if they would be thick enough. I’m excited to find this post -It seems to have all the right ratios and 6 eggs tells me it will be nice and thick!! I currently have the crust in the refrigerator -I’m thinking these will get some rave reviews today!

    PS -I love the blog and am now following!


  26. Deb — September 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Well I have to report back in…..the bars were a hit, but I was disappointed. I have never had a problem with lemon bars before -but these just came out too gooey and chewy -they wouldn’t even cut nicely without squeezing out the sides. Any thoughts as to why that would be? The top was nicely but lightly browned -so I don’t think I under cooked it.


  27. Monica — September 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    These are the best lemon bars I’ve ever had! I couldn’t get enough =) Thanks for all the fabulous recipes.


  28. Pretty. Good. Food. — September 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I’ve never tried to make my own lemon bars, this sounds soooo good!


  29. Tanya — December 7, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Yum! I am going to make these today. I’ve been craving lemon bars. Yum yum yum. My pregnant belly thanks you.


  30. Jennifer — June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    These lemon bars are so awesome! SO glad I found your site on Pinterest! Thank you!


  31. Soham — October 13, 2012 at 8:49 am

    I love your recipes! All of your pictures look fantastic too, makes me wanna eat them all … yum :)


  32. Kelly @ — July 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I was looking for a lemon bar for this weekend, and here you have one! Just pinned it, thank you :-)


  33. Linda Carson — August 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I’m confused. Would love to try this recipe. It looks so elegant compared to some bars. What I don’t understand is the wax paper scenario. Butter under one layer of paper, then butter on top of that layer, then another layer of wax paper. Where do you put the crust to bake. When does the paper come out and how? I never considered myself dense, but, I just don’t get it…


    • Jamie — September 13, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Hi Linda,
      The butter between the paper layers is there simply to make them stick together. You’re basically making a “tray” out of the papers with which to lift the bars out.


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