Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunshine Lemon Bars

Sometime, in the early '90's, I first discovered "Lemon Bars". I don't know what rock I'd been living under, to have missed this iconic cookie. All I know is that it was love at first bite, for my son. Did you know that it is said that Betty Crocker's R&D department developed this cookie in 1963?

Since then, I've seen them at Starbucks and many bakeries. I just can't resist them, either.

If you've never had a Lemon Bar, think of this cookie as a layer of shortbread (no eggs) with a gooey, yet creamy, filling of lemony sweetness, dusted with powdered sugar. For some reason, I have forgotten about making these, even though I see all kinds of versions of this classic cookie. So, why would I want to post mine? I'll tell you why in a moment.

I am very thankful that my husband has taken an interest in growing fruit trees.  He has nurtured our Eureka lemon tree, and he is being repaid with plenty of lemons for me to use.  Our Meyer lemon tree hasn't been quite so forthcoming, but I still hold on to the hope that it will finally cough up more than the one handful of fruit  it has produced. The tree is still very young, so I it's not quite bursting with fruit, but I'm sure that time will come.

With lemons coming into season, I'm starting to see (and "pin") plenty of lemon recipes.  I realized that it has been many years since I've made lemon bars for my son, and husband. 

The recipe I've been using makes a tender shortbread crust, because it uses powdered sugar, instead of granulated sugar. That makes for a really tender shortbread crust, and that's why I like this recipe so much. My food processor makes this happen very quickly.

Do you see that metal "binder clip" that's holding down my parchment paper sling? Thank you, Martha Stewart, for sharing that tip.  It works great! The crust is par-baked for 15 minutes.

For the filling, I sift sugar, flour, and baking powder into a bowl ...

I've increased the lemon juice from 4 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. I'm not shy about using the zest of two lemons, either.

Eggs are whisked in, and then the filling is poured on top of the partially baked crust, and then baked for another 25 minutes.

Making a parchment paper sling makes removing the baked cookie easy to do. Once I let them cool for about 30 minutes, they are cut into individual bars and dusted with powdered sugar.

TASTING NOTES: "Booyah"!  I've never tasted a lemon bar cookie I didn't like.  I mean, what's not to love?  They taste of buttery, flaky deliciousness.  I absolutely adore the taste of lemon-- admittedly, more than I do chocolate. I'm not ashamed.  Even though I've increased the amount of lemon juice that I use, these aren't so tart, that your eyes squint.  They're just good. Strike that. They're amazing, in the words of my son. Even though my little boy has grown to be 6'4 tall, his smile still makes my heart melt. That smile, and his praises, makes the time I took to bake these worthwhile.

Personally, I love these with a cup of hot tea.  The best.  Seriously.

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Bill said...

I've eaten many lemon bars, but for some reason I've never made them. Jim LOVES anything lemon so I might just have to try these. They look delicious!! I'm jealous that you have lemon trees in your yard! :-)

Joanne said...

Lemon bars are my favorite. Especially in winter when they just seem to brighten up everything!

Sam Hoffer @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

I think I must be the only person left who hasn't eaten a lemon bar. Just think of it - I LOVE lemon too.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Truly, this is one of my favorite all time desserts. You are so lucky to have lemon trees in your backyard.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I remember making this as a standard treat for friends, for school bake sales and just for me back in the 80s, but they seem to have dropped from my radar. Until now. How I wish I had a lemon tree in my back yard as you do!

AdriBarr said...

Oh,I just love Lemon Bars- the combination of sweet and tart lemon and rich, buttery shortbread gets me every time! Yours look delectable!

Roz Corieri Paige said...

I agree Debby, what's not to love about lemon bars. With lemons being in season now, you've convinced me to make some! Hope you're enjoying all of that wonderful California weather that I read about in your FB posts! Lucky girl!

Barbara Bakes said...

Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts. Yours look luscious.

Madonna/aka/Ms Lemon of Make Mine Lemon said...

Lemon bars - a favorite at our house.