Lemon Bar recipes have been around awhile. I know because I found one this in my oldest cookbook. Without saying too much about just how “classic” this recipe is, I’ll just tell you it was scribbled on a piece of paper from my junior high school days. Yikes.
I made a few adjustments to the recipe. The original recipe had baking powder in the filling. I use flour in this wonderful custard- like lemon topping but I’m not sure why a leavening agent was included. The all-purpose flour I use these days works just fine on its own. So, I eliminated the baking powder. I use King Arthur all-purpose flour for practically all my baked goods. It’s unbleached and strong enough to bake both breads and cookies.
I also added some Kosher salt to the shortbread base as I always use unsalted butter and thought this recipe could use a touch of salty.
Other than that, I started baking and I was thrilled with the results!
If you are looking for a lemon bar recipe with a tender buttery shortbread crust and LOTS of lemon topping, this one may become a favorite. The bars are dessert size, perfect for topping with fresh fruit and serving on the prettiest dish you have.
I baked these bars in a 8x8x2 inch pan and to give you an idea of what I mean by LOTS of topping, the bars measured 1 inch in depth with the topping being 3/4 of that inch. I just love them for a special dessert and they make a wonderful presentation with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and fresh fruit!
I used my favorite sugar shaker to add the powdered sugar. This one was given to me by a very special friend, but I’ve seen them on Pampered Chef and other places online. Just search for flour/sugar shaker if you need/want one. I sprinkle powdered sugar twice on the bars, once after they are finished baking and cooled, ( Don’t add the powdered sugar to warm bars, it will melt) and then again after I cut the bars just before serving. I like the look of the sugar on the plate too!
The lemon filling has a custard-like texture, the bars are sweet and tart at the same time. And I love the beautiful lemony yellow color. I just so happened to have some fresh raspberries in my kitchen, so I added those for the photo, but they are delicious plain too with just the powdered sugar. Fresh blackberries would be another option to try.
This recipe baked in a 8x8x2 inch pan yielded 9 large bars, perfect for a plated dessert, but you could also cut each square in half to form 18 bars for serving on a cookie platter for more bite-size bars. I prepared my pan by spreading with soft butter because I love butter and the bars lifted out easily. I cooled them in the pan set on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes, used a knife to loosen around the edges, then lifted out with a small spatula. Once I got the first bar out, I chilled the whole pan for about 15 more minutes to allow the filling to set up better.
Another option is to butter the pan, then line with parchment paper, allowing the paper to extend over the edges. This will make it easy for you to lift the bars out of the pan once they are ready to cut.
Once the lemon squares are out of the pan, you can sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. The sugar fixes a lot of “mistakes” ?
I hope you enjoy this recipe for lemon bars! If you try the recipe, I would love it if you tag #countrycupboardcookies on instagram so I can see your results!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 TBL cornstarch
- ½ cup unsalted butter (4 ounces or one stick)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1½ cups white granulated sugar
- 4 whole eggs
- ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ( strained) (about 3-4 lemons)
- 1 TBL lemon zest
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- Making the crust:
- Butter 8x8 baking pan very well. OR use parchment paper to line the pan with paper extending over the edges of pan, butter.
- Mix flour, confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, butter and salt with flat beater on mixer. Pat into prepared pan, building up edges slightly. Chill for 15 minutes.
- Once chilled, bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- Making the lemon topping:
- Whisk together the sugar,eggs,lemon juice,lemon zest. Slowly add the flour and whisk until combined.
- Pour onto baked crust. I allow crust to cool just a few minutes from the oven, then add topping.
- Bake bars an additional 25 to 30 minutes. Topping will be set and slightly browned.
- Cool pan on cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before attempting to cut bars.
- Sprinkle confectioners sugar over bars, cut into 9 large dessert squares. To yield 18 rectangles, cut each square in half. Use knife to loosen edges, cut bars, then lift from pan with small spatula.
- Once cut, you can sprinkle additional confectioners sugar on to bars as they are served.
Serve plain with additional confectioner's sugar or try adding fresh fruits such as raspberries or blackberries.