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This recipe is part of Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies.

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Tell me, who doesn't like lemon bars?

After ten years of baking evolution, this recipe still knocks it out of the park and is worth the price of the book alone.

I've made a lot of lemon bars, and I even baked the Apricot Lemon Bars from Cookies and Brownies three times, just to make sure I'd given it a fair shake. But these lemon bars were just right the first time out of the oven, and are the only things I've made lately that I've hoarded.

There's nothing especially remarkable about these lemon bars except that the proportions are fine tuned and results in a lemony creamy bar with a shortbready, vanilla-scented crust. I love this recipe, I love this cookie. Clearly.

A few notes about this recipe:

  • Assume 1 c AP flour = 4.5 oz
  • I needed 4 lemons to get the right amount of juice
  • Make sure you cool them completely in the pan, but cut and refrigerate them the first night. Keeping them cool will keep them firm.
  • Only dust with powdered sugar right before you eat them. These bars do not form a sugary or meringue-like crust, so the powdered sugar will melt into the lemon topping and will disappear.

Lemon Bars
8 T unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 c AP flour

1 c + 2 T sugar
3 T AP flour
3 large eggs
1+1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 c strained fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 T powdered sugar, for dusting

8-inch square pan, lined on the bottom and up all 4 sides with foil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
  2. To make the crust, cut butter into chunks and melt it in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt.
  4. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.
  5. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in the center.
  7. To make the topping, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well mixed.
  8. Whisk in the eggs.
  9. Stir in the lemon zest and juice.
  10. When the crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300F and slide the rack out without removing the pan.
  11. Pour the filling over the hot crust.
  12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is puffed att he edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped.
  13. Set on a rack to cool completely in the pan.
  14. Lift the ends of the foil liner and transfer to a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife to cut into sixteen 2-inch bars.

Makes 16 2-inch bars

May be stored, airtight, in the refrigerator. Lemon Bars keep perfectly for about 3 days; after 3 days the crust softens but the bars still taste quite good for the remainder of a week. Do not freeze. Sieve powdered sugar over the bars just before serving.

This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.

The Lemon Bars on Foodista