Best Ever Lemon Bars!
Lemon Bars are a classic. They are served everywhere and recipes for them are a dime a dozen. I love them all, but like everything else some are better than others. I came across this particular recipe in Time-Life’s, “The Good Cook Book” series in the “Cookies & Crackers” volume. This series was first published in 1984 and were some of the first cookbooks I ever bought. I love the Time-Life cookbooks and always felt they were under-appreciated; they are not only loaded with great recipes but do a great job of teaching various cooking techniques with their generous use of illustrations and descriptions. Anyway, in my personal opinion, these lemon bars are by far the best I’ve ever tasted! They are richer than most due in part to the buttery cookie-like base. This recipe also calls for icing on top (as opposed to powdered sugar) which just kicks them up another notch. If you follow the directions and let them sit overnight (which is virtually impossible to do) they take on a chewy ‘gumdrop-like’ texture. I usually make two batches because I can’t keep my hands off of them until the next day (yes, they are just that good)! The recipe is for a small batch (8×8) and they suggest cutting them into 1” x 2” squares (due to that buttery richness I mentioned earlier). I adapted this recipe only slightly from the original.
- 8 Tablespoons butter (room temperature)
- ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons Meyer Lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- Cream the butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and thoroughly blend together with the softened butter. Gradually beat in one cup of the flour a little at a time. Transfer to a lightly greased 8’ x 8’ square pan and pat it smoothly and evenly with your fingers. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 minutes until the cookie base is lightly colored and firm to the touch.
- Next, combine the granulated sugar, baking powder and 2 tablespoons of flour in a bowl and blend together. Add the eggs and beat well until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Pour this mixture over the cooked cookie base. Bake in the 350° oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool.
- When the bars have completely cooled, spread the glaze evenly over the bars with a rubber spatula. The glaze is very sticky so you will need to take care not to ‘break’ the top of the bars. Let the glaze harden for at least 15 minutes before cutting into 1” x 2” squares. Cover loosely with foil or wax paper and let sit at room temperature overnight (good luck with that). The three layers will bond with each other giving them a great chewy texture. Enjoy!
- 1½ cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- Sift the sugar into a bowl. Stir in the water a spoonful at a time to reach the desired consistency making sure there are no lumps. Use it immediately!
- Note: You can replace some of the water with vanilla extract, lemon juice or even liquor, such as Grand Marnier.