Lemon bars

So between the two of us, I am the more traditional baker/chef while Greta is much more modern. I’m also the one who absolutely loves citrus recipes. What better way to combine these two traits than with a batch of lemon bars!

I actually have a story about lemon bars. It was probably only a year and a half ago that I had my first one. My entire extended family was gathered at my Uncle Adam’s house for my cousin’s birthday party. I have three cousins at that house and a birthday party is thrown for each of them, every year. The dessert is almost always a chocolate cake. Since I don’t eat chocolate (gasp!), there has been a running tradition that someone will bake something that isn’t chocolate-based. At that particular party, my aunt baked lemon bars for me. That was the first time I ate a lemon bar, and that may have been the beginning of my love for citrus recipes. And now these bars have made their way from Wisconsin to Germany.

The recipe is, once again, in two parts: the shortbread crust and the lemon filling.

Ingredients for crust:

– 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted, softened butter

– 1/4 cup of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar

– 1 cup of all-purpose flour

– 1/8 teaspoon of salt

Ingredients for lemon filling:

– 1 cup of granulated sugar

– 2 large eggs

– 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice (the recipe says from 2 lemons, but I only needed one large one)

– 1 Tbs. of grated lemon zest (I found this was the zest from one large lemon)

– 2 Tbs. of all-purpose flour

Garnish:

– Confectioner’s sugar

Step One: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8×8 inch pan, and set aside for now.

Step Two: This is for the crust. Put the softened butter and sugar into a bowl, and cream them with either a hand mixer or an electric mixer.

Step Three: Add the flour and the salt. Then beat your mixture until the dough just starts to come together.

Step Four: Press the dough onto the bottom of your greased pan and pop it in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until it is lightly browned around the edges. When removed from the oven, set it aside to let it cool while you make the lemon filling.

Step Five: This is for the lemon filling. In a bowl, combine the sugar and eggs and beat them until they are smooth.

Step Six: Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir to combine.

Step Seven: Fold in the flour.

Step Eight: Pour the lemon mixture over the shortbread crust.

Step Nine: Bake in the oven for 17-20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove it from the oven, and let it cool before serving.

To serve, cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar. In my excitement to start eating one of these lemon bars, I forgot to put powdered sugar on top. Oh well. They were delicious without it. There was a very nice, thin crust that formed on top of the bar.

Enjoy!

– Ali

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