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Hometown Recipes: Lemon Bars

By Erin Walgamuth

The son of a dear friend of ours left for Boot Camp a few weeks ago. We were to be at their home for a going-away party/bbq and when I asked Josh what he would like me to make he said “Lemon bars!”

Then he asked if it was OK with me if he didn’t share them with anyone. I told him they were his gift from me and he could eat the entire tray himself if that was what he wanted. Josh, being the generous young man that he is, did, in the end, share the lemon bars.

I have been making these same Lemon Bars for about 23 years now and as you can see they are still very popular. I hope you enjoy them too!

Preparation time-about 25 minutes

Cook time-about 30 to 40 minutes total

You will need:

13x9 glass baking dish
Food Processor
Citrus Zester (I love my Zyliss Zester)

Lemon Bars

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Shortbread Crust:

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup powered sugar
1 cup cold butter

To measure the flour; spoon flour into a measuring cup until it is above the rim and then scrape any excess back into the flour bag with a knife. Put the flour into the bowl of a food processor. Add powered sugar to the flour. Pulse about 10 times to incorporate the flour and sugar. 


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Cut slivers of cold butter directly over the flour mixture in bowl of the processor. Quick pulse about 20 times to incorporate butter until mixture looks like course meal. Pour crust directly into the 13x9 baking dish. 

Using your hands, press the crust over the bottom of the baking dish to touch all sides as evenly as possible. Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes or until golden around the edges and lightly golden in the middle.

Remove crust from the oven and let rest on a cooling rack while you make the filling. Always allow crust to cool while you prepare filling, otherwise you will end up with a mushy crust. Yuck! 

Lemon Filling

2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
Zest of two room temperature lemons, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup of lemon juice: about 2 medium lemons
4 tablespoons of all purpose flour
Powdered sugar for topping

Roll lemons back and forth under the palm of your hand on a hard surface such as your kitchen counter. This process will help in releasing as much juice as possible Zest the lemons length wise from top to bottom so you have long thin strips.

Coarsely chop zest and set aside. Juice the lemons, discard any seeds and set aside. In a medium glass mixing bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until just combined. Whisk-in lemon zest and lemon juice until just combined.

Add flour and whisk until well combined and mixture is smooth, with no lumps of flour. Pour filling on top of cooling crust, making sure to cover entire surface of the crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden around edges and set in the middle.

Cool completely. Lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar to evenly cover surface. Cut into squares and serve.

If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at my new blog here.

Enjoy!