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Perfect Lemon Bars

Perfect Lemon Bars
This is a lemon bar recipe for lemon lovers – and it just might be the only one you’ll ever need. It has a filling that is nice and thick, a great lemon flavor and a beautiful silky texture. The lemon custard is sitting on top of a layer of tender shortbread crust that is thick enough to hold up to it without getting soggy, even if you are planning to take the bars to a picnic the next day. These really are the perfect lemon bars because they are bursting with lemon flavor and are incredibly easy to make.

Many lemon bar recipes use sour cream or milk to round out the flavor of the filling and give it more body. This makes for a tasty lemon bar, but it also mellows the natural zestiness of the lemon a little bit. My favorite lemon curd recipe isn’t cut with butter or any other fat (besides the egg that thickens it) and it has plenty of body – and the filling for these bars works the same way. With just lemon juice, sugar and eggs you get a fantastic result.

You need to use fresh lemon juice to get the best results for this recipe, as store-bought lemon juice just doesn’t have the same brightness as a freshly juiced lemon. You’ll also want a little bit of fresh lemon zest to add to the crust, to give the bars a little extra lemon. Serve these bars chilled or at room temperature, and dust them with a little bit of confectioners’ sugar just before serving to give them a beautiful finished look.

Perfect Lemon Bars

Perfect Lemon Bars
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, room temperature

4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 9×9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
Make the crust. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut butter into chunks and add to flour mixture. Blend in with an electric mixer at low speed until mixture forms coarse, sandy crumbs. Pour into pan and press mixture down (with your fingers or the back of a spoon) into an even layer.
Bake for 16-19 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges.

While crust is baking, make filling. Whisk together all filling ingredients in a large bowl.
When the crust comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour in filling mixture.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until filling is just set (it will still jiggle when the pan is gently moved). Filling will continue to set as the crust cools.
When bars are completely cooled, refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.
Top slices with confectioners’ sugar to serve.

Makes about 24 bars.

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  • alison
    June 2, 2013

    This is the second time I’ve made these so I just had to write and tell you how UTTERLY fantastic they are. Exceedingly difficult not to eat the entire tray. I’ll be bringing a double batch to a picnic this afternoon where I expect they’ll disappear in a flash.

  • Alexandra
    July 22, 2013

    This was my first time making lemon squares and they turned out fabulous! Everybody loved them. I will be making these again, that’s for sure. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Suzanne
    August 10, 2013

    Hi! Did you use salted or unsalted butter?

  • Alessandro
    September 25, 2013

    Hi! Such a good recipe it seems!

    I’d like to try it but, could I ask you a favour? Could you write the ingredients in european measures, too? Like grams, liters… I live in Italy, and, well, “cup”, “teaspoon”… they don’t tell me much more than “some sugar”, or “not much flour”… XD

    A part from this request, my compliments! ^^

  • Carol-Anne
    July 20, 2014

    Great recipe! Really easy to make, loved it!

  • Matea
    July 23, 2014

    These lemon bars look delicious! I’ll probably cut down on the sugar, but that’s just a taste preference.

  • brittney
    December 30, 2014

    After reading some of the reviews, I was a little skeptical to try these but I went ahead and did it since I needed to use up some lemons. I switched the pan size to a 9×12 pan like another reviewer said and only put in 3\4 cup lemon because I didnt have any more lemons to squeeze and we live in the mountains about 45 mins from a store so I decided to just cut it a little short. I’m going to say, I am a HUGE fan of lemon and love everything lemony and even with cutting the lemon juice down, these still were reallyyy lemony. (delicious though). I followed all the other directions to the t, and they came out great. My crust did not combine with my filling (like some reviewers said) and I followed baking times listed, even with the pan size adjustment. If you’re trying to decide if you should do these or not, DO IT!

  • Rachel Page
    January 18, 2015

    Oh, I have to make these!

  • aimee
    February 10, 2015

    This is my go-to lemon bar recipe!! They are the best I’ve ever had. Everyone always raves about them and I’ve never had trouble with them setting or turning out.

  • michelle
    March 31, 2015

    I made these last night and they were quite the hit!! I live in Central America, and couldn’t get my hands on any lemons, but I used lime juice and it was just as good, and still yellow ha. It was VERY tart, although the sugar and sweetness did even out the tartness. Next time I’ll try cutting back on the amount of lemon to see if it brings it down a bit just to fit my husbands taste, however everyone ELSE who ate the dessert, thought that it was PERFECT and loved the tartness.

  • Kelley
    May 29, 2015

    Made these last night and they were absolutely perfect! Tart and just a little sweet and the crust was beautiful. I sprayed the tin foil before adding the crust and I had no problem removing the bars.
    I was worried because the filling was so runny, but it set up perfectly. Best lemon bars I have ever tasted!

  • Linda
    January 8, 2016

    These bars are the perfect lemon bar. I have used this recipe countless time and they have never failed to get rave reviews. Thank you for sharing.

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