I know I should probably be posting things apple, pear and pumpkin but I haven't quite made the seasonal jump, at least in terms of baking yet, and besides, I'm so far behind in terms of posting things I've cooked, that these lemon shortbread bars, which I actually made for my son (per his request) right before he left for college at the end of August, are only now making their appearance here. Not that you really need an excuse to make or eat lemon bars or that they're particularly season specific. Whenever you make them, I guarantee that they will not last long!
I've always liked lemon, but over the years, that like has turned into a full-fledged LOVE!! So it's surprising that I've been posting for over 2 years now and still don't have a recipe for lemon bars on this site. Particularly because these are so perfectly mouth puckeringly lemony and so easy to make too, with a deliciously crisp buttery shortbread crust that comes together in the food processor and cooks while you prepare the lemon filling.
And when the bars are done, they get a generous dose of confectioners' sugar on top, which balances out the tartness, making each bite hit the bliss point and almost makes them look too pretty to eat. I say almost, because let's face it guys, who are we kidding?!! Treat yourself to a little lemony brightness today!
Luscious Lemon Shortbread Bars
Makes 24 bars
Prep time for the shortbread base: 20 minutes; Prep Time for the Filling: 5-7 minutes; Bake Time: 30 minutes
For the Shortbread
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Lemon Filling
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar for topping
1. To make the shortbread: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Cut the butter into small pieces and place into a food processor. Add in the flour, brown sugar and salt and process until small lumps begin to form. Sprinkle the mixture into a 9x13-inch baking pan and use a glass or a metal spatula or the bottom of a large measuring cup to press the mixture down evenly onto the bottom.
2. Bake the shortbread for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
3. To make the lemon filling: while the shortbread is baking, place the eggs and sugar into a medium bowl and whisk together well. Stir in the lemon juice and flour.
4. As soon as the shortbread comes out of the oven, pour the lemon mixture over the top. Lower the oven to 300ºF and return the dish to the oven for another 30 minutes, until the mixture is set.
5. Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into 24 bars and sift confectioners' sugar over the tops. These are good at room temperature but my personal preference is to chill them.
6. Either way, bars keep covered and chilled for at least 3 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from an old issue of Gourmet Magazine.