Thursday, November 02, 2006

Luscious Lemon Bars

meyerlemonbar1


I'm ashamed to admit it but I am a lemon bar snob. I'm not proud of it. Well, maybe the word snob is a bit harsh. Let's just say that I have very strong preferences when it comes to lemon bars.

I prefer a delicate, buttery crust with a slight "snap" to it. And the crust should never be more than half the overall height of the lemon bar. I don't want to chew endlessly on an overly thick and, inevitably, tough crust. Or even worse, mash my way through the gummy mess of an underdone crust.

I prefer a dominant lemon flavor untainted by the milkiness of cream, evaporated or condensed milk. It should be just tart enough to make my mouth pucker a teeny bit. Don't get me wrong. A creamy lemon confection has its place in my dessert kingdom, but not in the form of lemon bars. Sorry, milk, but tart is king.

I prefer my lemon filling to be smooth and soft, but not runny. When the filling hits my tongue it should be luscious. Overcooking the filling will turn the lemon bar into a sponge. No one wants to eat a lemon flavored sponge, least of all me.

I prefer my lemon bars dusted with confectioners' sugar. But not so heavily dusted that exhaling will shower the table (or your neighbor) with sugar.

And finally, I prefer to eat my lemon bars with a fork. That's not snobbish, is it?

meyerlemonbar2

Lemon Bars
(makes one 8-inch square pan)

Crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 tsp salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Filling:
2 large eggs
1 cup superfine or bakers' sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest*
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice*

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.

To make crust:
Combine flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the mixture is pebbly. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 18-20 minutes. Set aside crust.

To make filling:
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in lemon zest and juice until well combined. Pour over crust (it's okay if crust is still hot). Bake until filling is just set, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

* Note: I use meyer lemons (because we have a tree in our garden). Meyer lemons are less tart than the Eureka lemons found in the supermarket.

112 comments:

Helene said...

You describe perfectly how I like my lemon bars. I guess that makes me a lemon bar snob too! I wish I could find Meyer lemons around here. The pictures make my mouth water and pucker!

Ellie said...

I've never had a lemon bar before - are they like tarts? The description and pictures definetely makes my mouth (as Helene beautifully put it) both water and pucker ;)

Suzanne said...

I am in your lemon bar club snobs group for sure! I have been searching for a recipe for these for years and I can't wait to try yours-they look delicious:-)

clarice said...

I to have very strong opinons about lemon bars. Well really about cooking. I will try your bars and see if they fit the bill. Thank you Clarice

peabody said...

I have to say I am not that picky about my lemon bars. Though I don't really eat them that often so maybe that is why.
Yours look luscious.

Orlena said...

I wouldn't call you a snob, you just have an extremely STRONG preference when it comes to lemon bars. Although, I do wish I never gave you my lemon bar to try that one time...

Brilynn said...

I don't see anything wrong with any of that! Your lemons bars look lucious indeed.

Mary said...

Helene: I always feel very lucky that I have a constant supply of meyers.

Ellie: Yes, they are very similar to lemon tarts.

Suzanne & Clarice: I hope the recipe lives up to your expectations.

Peabody: I do sound a bit crazy about them, huh? =)

Orlena: I always appreciate your generosity, so don't sweat it for even one second!

Brilynn: Thank you!

sher said...

I adore lemon bars and yours lookperfect! I think there would be a lot of people in the lemon bar snob club! Yes, indeedy--and we would eat yours at each meeting. (I know what I'll dream about tonight.)

Bron said...

They look delicious Mary, and it all sounds sensible to me!

evan said...

hi, those lemon bars are really lovely :)

Stephanie said...

Mary, I too like them exactly as you describe. And, rarely eat them because of all the disappointment over the years of failed expectations. THANK YOU for sharing and posting this, I will make your recipe and thank you profusely again later.

Kate said...

yes, yes, yes!!! I hate the thick-crusted ones. This is the perfect lemon bar - and with meyer lemons! I can't wait to try it.

Don said...

You're absolutely right, Myer Lemons add an extra something to the lemon bars. YOUR lemon bars certainly fit the bill!

Dianka said...

Not snobbish at all! This one looks perfect!

bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

A meyer lemon tree in your garden?? I am SO jealous! I would love to try these! Lemon is a big thing for me too!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Mary,

I have some recipes for lemon bars in some of my books but never thought of making them.

Yours just made my mouth water - now I know I should try them sometime! They look delicious!

Ivonne said...

That is the creme de la creme of lemon bars, Mary! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

They look really delicious!
I would like to have one here...
Ciao.

Mary said...

I'm happy to see that I'm not alone in my love for lemon bars. Thanks to all for the very nice comments. =)

Anonymous said...

I do not have a food processor to utilize to make the lemon bars. Any suggestions?

Mary said...

Anonymous - The crust can easily be mixed by hand. Just "cut" in your butter using a fork, a pastry blender, or even your fingertips.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mary for the info. I can now enjoy the lemon bars....

Lene' said...

Thanks! These are the best lemon bars I've ever made -- made them today, using white whole wheat flour for the crust, and adding a ts. of vanilla bean paste to the lemon curd layer because I've been jonesing for vanilla-lemon flavour. By far the best Lemon Bar recipe I've tried, so this is going into my "keeper" file.

Love your blog, and damned if I know how I'm going to keep from gaining 20 pounds or so by spring now that I've started coming here.

Mary said...

Lene - I'm so happy you liked the lemon bars. I try to give away most of what I bake but the tiny bites I take still add up!

Anonymous said...

I actually have never had a lemon bar, but whatever you have said about them lemon bars, are what I have in my glazed lemon cakes. Am dying to try your bars out!
:O)

Lasse said...

I had a sudden urge to bake something, and found these.

Absolutely delicious, except they could have been even more lemony :-)

The crust was excellent.

Anonymous said...

I used your recipe today. My boyfriend doesn't like anything without chocolate and he loved the lemon bars! It was delicious. Thanks :)

-Leslie

Fatima said...

Wow you sure know what you want in a lemon square :) This looks like a delicious recipe (plus, it's healthier than choco desserts). I'm excited to try it out asap! I'm out of ingredients atm, dyou think it would be alright if I subs. unsalted w/ salted butter? And is confectioners' sugar finer than superfine sugar?
Thanks. Mary, your blog is <3

kristikaye said...

As a lemon bar lover, I have been looking for better recipes than the ones I have been making (none quite right), and this one is perfect, even without Meyer lemons! Thanks! Can't wait to look at more of your recipes.

Mary said...

Lasse & Leslie - I'm glad you liked it.

Fatima - It's okay to use salted butter instead of unsalted. Just be sure to leave out the salt listed in the recipe. And confectioner's sugar is much finer than superfine. It also called powdered or icing sugar.

Kristkaye - Lemon bar lovers unite!

Anonymous said...

hi! it's me lauren! me and my mommy tried these lemon bars and i've got to say....they smell and taste so good. When you come over sometime i would love it if you could give me some cooking tips!

Mary said...

Hi Lauren! I'm glad you and your mom could make these with the lemons we gave you. And we will definitely bake the next time we visit.

Amanda said...

Dear sweet lord, I had no idea I was in such good company. You've listed all my preferences and peeves, and not only that, you've given me a recipe that honors my snobbery. I'm in love. They're baking right now.

Tell me: what are your thoughts on lemon curd? I've made it before, with good results, could probably eat a bowlful of the stuff if I didn't watch myself...

Mary said...

Hi Amanda, I love lemon curd too but I don't make it too often. I could definitely polish off a healthy portion too! =)

Anonymous said...

Hello there :) I tried making your lemon bars yesterday, but they didn't turn out like yours:( I probably burnt them a little. However, the taste was good. I'll definitely make it again.

Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your recipe. I made this recipe, and everyone loved these lemon bars! You should have issued a warning, though, saying how completely addictive they are. This recipe is now in my permanent book. Thanks again! Lisa

Anonymous said...

Amazing! soooooo yummy! I've never made lemon bars before but gave it a go lastnight and they turned out better than i ever expected. I brought some into work today and everyone is loving it!

Zahra said...

i just made this a few hours ago &
they came out so well :)
at first i made a mistake and used a long pan...so i started over in a smaller pan...but i broke up the crust from the 'mistake' batch and im servin them as cookies :) i dusted the pieces with powdered sugar. so good !

i was also surprised that my bars
actually came out lookin like yours in the picture :) haha

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me what size pan you use for this recipe?
Thanks!

Mary said...

The recipe calls for an 8x8 inch square pan. A 9x9 would work with a little less time in the oven.

Uzma said...

I made this recipe today and the entire pan was finished very quickly. My neices absolutely loved them! I added a cup of coconut, so they weren't really for lemon bar purists, but very delicious. Thanks for the perfect recipe, I'm sure I will be making these again very soon.

Jasmine said...

Your Meyer Lemon Bars are fabulous and I was so thankful to find a recipe specifically for Meyers!

The recipe was perfect. Wouldn't change a thing.

Amanda J. Sisk said...

These were divine - thank you for sharing your recipe!

Anonymous said...

duz the recipe make 1 lemon bar or more than that cuz i cant figure out

Mary said...

Anon - The recipe makes one 8x8-inch square pan.

green-shoe said...

Luckily, your post pops up in a "lemon bar" Google search. These were exactly what my boyfriend wanted!
This one definitely gets a recipe card.
Thanks again!

rayna said...

Tonight I made lemon bars using a recipe similar to yours - only it was a shortbread crust instead. It was my first time making lemon squares and everyone raved over them. Someone even told me they could rival a local bakery around town, known for it's sweets. Now I am inspired to know there is a club for lemon squares lovers. I can't wait to experiment with the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely perfect!! A quick and easy addition to my Meyer lemon recipe collection. Everyone loved them (and so did I).

Anonymous said...

I followed the recipe to the letter (including the meyer lemons!) and the crust was a hair too thick for my taste. It was as thick as the filling. Other than that, the taste was spot on - tart and sweet, but not too sweet. Thanks for the recipe, and the photos on your blog are just lovely!

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is too much crust for this size pan - however, this was sooo good I ate it while is was still warm. I used the Meyer lemon for the first time and it was awesome!! I don't think I will ever use the traditional grocery store lemons again. Meyer's are more delicate and have their own unique fragrance.

Mary said...

Anon 3/18/08 & Anon 4/5/08 - I bake these a lot and my crust is never more than half the overall height. My pan is an 8x8 inch metal pan with straight sides and non-rounded corners. I'm glad you liked the lemon bars even though the crust was too thick. And I love Meyer lemons too!

It's interesting to hear everyone's experience with the recipe. Someone else just made the lemon bars and she told me her crust was too thin. =)

Anonymous said...

made it twice now and loved it... the first time I used 1/2 brown sugar in the filling (it's what I had on hand) and it was great....

the second time I added more lemon juice and zest (as I used store lemons) the lemony flavor was great but the filling baked unevenly (more done on the outside rim of the pan)...

I used a 8x8 pyrex dish and find the crust and filling 50/50...I might even like a bit more filling...

this is a great recipe thanks for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

I live in a country that doesn't have lemons, but limes are very tiny and plentiful.....Thailand
I read somewhere that lime juice made the color look sick. Has anyone tried lime juice instead of lemon?

Anonymous said...

4/30/08 -- lime juice shouldn't do anything--I baked these today and used a mix of lime and lemon. :) The egg yolks are what gives the lemon bar colour, more or less. :> If all else fails, use food colouring!

Sharon said...

Can these bars be made ahead and frozen for 2-3 weeks? I'm having a party for 75-80 people and need some "make ahead" desserts. I LOVE lemon bars and these sound absolutely divine.

Anonymous said...

Can the recipie be doubled? What size pan shuold be used in this case? Thank you.

Alison said...

I tried your Meyer's lemon bar recipe this morning and it tasted just heavenly. Thank you so much for making my day!!

lemonlover said...

Can I use normal lemons for this recipe? I can't find any meyer lemons.

Mary said...

Anon (9/18/08) - I did double it once but I baked them in two 8x8 pans, not one larger pan. So I don't know how it long it would take for a double batch in a single larger pan.

Alison - I'm glad you liked the recipe.

Lemonlover - Yes, you can use regular lemons.

Shannon said...

OMG these were the most DELICIOUS things I have ever managed to bake and not STUFF UP!!!!!!! Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe........FYI my daughters (4yrs & 9yrs) loved them just as much as I did!!!

Jamie said...

I don't have superfine/bakers sugar. what should I use instead?

Mary said...

Jamie - You can use the same amount of regular granulated sugar if you don't have superfine.

Beth said...

Hello--
I'm trying to reach you to request permission to link to your recipe (and share a photo) for our Handmade Holidays on the Sew,Mama,Sew! blog. I couldn't find your contact information (though it is late!). Would you mind emailing so I can give you the details? We love your recipe and would like to share it with our readers.

Thank you!
Beth
beth(at)sewmamasew(dot)com

Nicole said...

I made these last night and I loved them, except love is not a strong enough word to describe how I feel about these lemon bars. They are wonderful. I have to admit that we couldn't wait for them to cool completely and I like them a little warm. The only complaint I have is that they are so good an 8x8 pan is just not enough. I was going to bring them to work today, but they are already half gone! Next time a double batch for sure.

Maansi said...

I love any dessert with lemons in it and these sound so much better than most lemon bars so I can't wait to bake them for a Thanksgiving potluck! Thanks so much for the recipe!

The picture is really pretty... Did your bars actually look like that? I can't believe the perfection....

Mary said...

Beth - Sorry for the delayed response. Feel free to link and share the photo.

Nicole - I can never get enough of these lemon bars. They're so delicious.

Maansi - I hope you enjoy the recipe. And, yes, I shot the photograph and the lemon bars did really look like that.

Kim said...

I have a batch of these in the oven while I am typing this. I first made this recipe for my new sweetie, for our second date. It is Thanksgiving morning and I am set to meet his family for the first time. (Yikes...wish me luck). When I asked what I could bring, his first response was "those lemon bars". Guess he liked them as much as I do. Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipe. The crust is what sets these far above any other lemon bars I've ever made/ate.

Roberta said...

I just found your blog and your recipe and found both of them wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to share your recipes and you're right - the Lemon Bars are fabulous. I threw a bit of the rind into the food processor and ground that up in the crust as well as using the zest in the filling - terrific. Thanks and I can't wait to try your other recipes.

Natalie said...

I made this tonight! Mine didn't turn out this good, but they are deliciosu!

Elizabeth said...

Mary, these lemon bars are absolute perfection!!! I made them last night. They were so easy and much better than the meyer lemon tart I made recently. Mine don't look as perfect as yours (I think because I couldn't wait for them to cool before cutting into them). Also, I used Earth Balance (yes, a travesty I realize, but I am allergic to dairy). The combination of the tender slightly browned crust with the velvety lemon top makes my knees weak with every bite! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Elizabeth said...

Also, I doubled the recipe because I didn't have an 8 x 8 in pan (only a larger one). I used the food processor to grind down the regular sugar that I had and this seemed to work beautifully. All this and still amazing! :)

XUE said...

this is such a helpful post. We made lemon squares just the night before & it didn't look anything like yours (which looks perfect!). So thank you for this recipe & these amazing comments!!!

Anonymous said...

Exquisite!! I made them for a birthday party and the crust had the most wonderful buttery flavour. I did have to double the lemon filling though, but everything still turned out perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

Lynn said...

Hi Mary,

I love the lemon bars but any tips on cutting them easily? My knife kept pulling up on the filling, making for very ragged-looking bars - not very pretty to look at.
Thank you.

Mary said...

Lynn - I remove the whole thing from the pan and cut it on a chopping board with a sharp chef's knife. To get neat slices, I clean the blade after each cut. HTH.

Anonymous said...

Me and my friend found your recipe and it was very easy to make. And it was DELICIOUSEEE!! it is really good with the powdered sugar. it makes it even sweeter. :) Thanksss!! my mom was surprised that i can cookk haa

hottomali said...

at what degrees should the oven be

Anonymous said...

This is exactly the same as my recipe. Im the biggest lemon lover, i love any and everything lemon even more when i was pregnant. I found a recipe for lemon bars not knowing what it was but tried it anyways because anything that has lemons as the main ingredient is a fan of mine. I made it and then made it every saturday ever sice lol. i didnt think that anyone else would like them because like you said, i also love mines tart with just enough sweetness to level it out, and a buttery crust that has a snap to it but arent hard as a rock neither will crumble before you put it in your mouth as i learned to perfect it after couple trials. Everyone loves them, everyone i was surprised and now everyone is bringing me lemons and sugar( because this does require alot of sugar)begging me to make them!

Monique said...

I too am a lemon bar snob and this recipe made them perfectly! I actually used limes instead of lemons and I really love how they turned out. Here's a photo of them:
lime bars

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! Im new at baking and i have loving and eating lemons since i was 4, so far my fav dessert is lemon meringue pie and ive heard so much about lemon bars, im like the biggest lemon head ever. u described them exactly how i would like to try them and i cant wait, im just starts a foods class and mabye if all works out i can bring some in, BTW THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH

Anonymous said...

I was super excited about these lemon bars, but I guess I will have to practice a few more times to get them right. I followed the recipe but they were still very gooey and they stuck to the pan. Can’t figure out what went wrong….

Chilidog said...

I too have a Meyer lemon bush in my backyard. This is my first time making lemon bars, I used your recipe but I add a good deal more zest because I still have quite a bit in the freezer. My favorite meyer lemon recipe is lemonade but these bars are a very close second.
http://bakingcirclefriends.blogspot.com/

Leslie said...

I love this recipe. I've used it a few times already :)

about me said...

Hi Mary, I just wanted to let you know that you've been a huge inspiration for me. I've followed you for years and eagerly checked your blog for new posts. Thank you!
http://umamitreats.blogspot.com/2010/01/lemon-bars.html
sincerely,
nancy

Katie Reck said...

These are amazing! I made them last night and added about a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary to the lemon filling which was wonderful!!! Thanks for the recipe!

Amelia PS said...

sounds "zingy" :)

Raven said...

Holy Crow! This was awesome!
I turned it Gluten free, and the crust was light and crumbly, and the inside was sweet, tangy, and lemony!

I replaced the flour with Gluten-Free Mama's Almond blend and a teaspoon of xantham gum, and it came out perfect!

Amber said...

I will be making these stat. I love lemon desserts of all kind, Lemon Meringue Pie being king. But maybe it's time for a new king.

Laura said...

Truly, is there a more perfect dessert than the lemon bar? No fork required! Yummm!!

Laura
http://culinarycravings.net

Aves Grey said...

How should I change this recipe for a 13x12 pan? They look delicious!

gr8god said...

these were luscious indeed. as a card carrying 'lemon bar snob,' i was very excited to discover your blog and try your recipe. they did not disappoint. thanks, mary!

Anonymous said...

I love these. I double the lemon juice...but these are perfection....everyone raves about them! Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

I love these. I double the lemon juice...but these are perfection....everyone raves about them! Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

Hi dear great tempting pics
but one quick question :
superfine or bakers' sugar
can i use icing sugar for this do i need to use powdered sugar can u pls clarify this

Alpineberry Mary said...

Anonymous on 10/24/2010: Superfine/bakers' sugar in the US is a grind that is finer than granulated table sugar. I think it's also called caster sugar. Powdered/confectioners/icing sugar cannot be used for the filling part of the recipe.

Anonymous said...

A bit TOO sugary for my liking! the crust was very good though!

Ruth at The Nova Studio said...

A friend gave us some Meyer lemons and so I went looking for a lemon bar recipe. Lemon heaven! I made the recipe as is and we love it! I'll be sure to make it even when I don't have Meyer lemons! :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to tell you that word for word this post has been copied at

http://www.grouprecipes.com/50706/meyer-lemon-bars.html

Recipe sounds yummy...

Anonymous said...

I loved your description of this lemon bad and had to try it, they turned out amazing! I did have a little trouble with the crusts sticking though,despite liberal pan-spray, does anyone have any advice?

Alpineberry Mary said...

Anonymous on 3/1/11 - Parchment paper would really help with the removal from the pan.

Anonymous said...

Super super delicious - I've made these twice and by far this is probably my favorite lemon bar recipe! I usually add a few extra tbsp of lemon juice, since I like mine to be extra lemony. Thank you!

lindsay said...

hi, i just made this recipe-with a few changes...i added an extra egg yolk, 1 tbs flour,and 1/4 cup lemon juice, and subtracted 1/4 sugar. i too love my lemon bars ultra lemony and really dislike a strong 'eggy' flavor...this is my first time making them-they did not come out as i imagined they would!! the filling soaked through the crust making it very soft...when i flipped it over the curd had cooked in a thin layer at the bottom!! they actually taste AMAZING, but are obviously not right...do you have any suggestions??

Anonymous said...

Mary, absolutely divine, you couldnt possibly get a bad review on these, ooh la la, new favorite recipe for me, thank you

Unknown said...

I am making a second round from this recipe after requests from my friends kept coming in for me to bring a tray for our potluck this week. I am using Meyer lemons from the tree in my yard, and couldn't imagine the bars without them!

Sherry said...

Your recipe is very similar to the "Best of Bridge" (A Canadian treasure) recipe that I have used and loved for years. Pucker and water - a perfect combination.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay, the recipe will not turn out if you make "a few changes". Your changes were big changes! Try making the recipe exactly as written first. They might turn out to be what you imagined them to be! :)

anso35 said...

bravo !!!!

ces barres ont l'air délicieuse, cela me donne envie de la tester ce WE.

tes photos sont sublimes.

A bientôt

Jenn Scott said...

Hi there, just curious...should these be stored at room temp or in the refrigerator?

Jillian said...

I used to make your lemon bars (like six years ago!) and then I moved, and life happened, and I forgot about them -- and I never wrote the recipe down! I'm soooo happy to have come across this recipe again. Hands down, the best lemon bars I've ever had, still, to this day. Can't wait to make them for Thanksgiving!

Emma said...

In the 15 years I have been baking I have never found a lemon bar recipe that I have been completely satisfied, until now that is. The first time I made this recipe (the only change was 1+1/2 for the filling) I ate the entire pan before my boyfriend even got to try one, and as soon as he came over we made and ate another entire batch! This is the BEST bar recipe I have ever come across. The next time made them for a party, I made them in a 9X13 glass pan with the proper conversions AND I used parchment which I had not the first few times, and the composition of the crust was changed entirely. It was almost as if buttering the glass dish without parchment gives the shortening crust a snap, whereas using parchment made it less crisp with almost an extra thin gooey, tough layer. Would you imagine this was from the parchment because the conversion was perfect and the rest of the bar composition was great? Either way this recipe is ADDICTIVE!!!��

karen said...

My son loves these and asks for them constantly...so I'm making him another batch for Father's Day! We're celebrating a day late. He'll love it!