No matter what the time of year, we could all use a bright citrusy boost every now and again. Enter these extra-lemony lemon bars – packed with gumption and vitamin C to ward off all that scurvy, me hearties.
I know we’re smack-dab in the middle of Fall and everybody’s hugging their sweaters, walking through crunching leaves and imbibing in pumpkin-spiced everything but this is exactly when I crave bright lemony flavors the most. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall. Halloween is my birthday, for chrissakes, but there’s only so much pumpkin, butternut squash and apple a girl can handle before she starts craving citrus.
As you can probably tell, I really like lemon. And when I eat something that claims to be “lemon”, I want to taste actual tartness, not just sugar that a lemon once sat next to. So to these lemon bars (or lemon squares, depending how you slice them).
I also think these are just really pretty and would be a lovely addition to any holiday party. In fact, Matt and I usually make them for our Christmas tree-trimming party which is useful since that’s when everyone is most in danger of getting scurvy from lack of sunlight and vitamin C.
I based these lemon bars on a Barefoot Contessa recipe but I kicked up the lemon and cut down on the sugar a bit. They’re definitely still sweet so I like to cut them into little one inch squares. I also have the easiest possible method of dealing with the crust which requires no rolling out at all.
- ½ pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups flour
- 5 lemons, peeled with a sharp vegetable peeler (avoid the white pith)
- 2¾ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 6 extra-large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained (about 5-6 large lemons)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet with parchment. Lightly butter the parchment.
- Cream the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. It should look a few shades lighter than when you began. With the mixer on low, add the flour until just mixed.
- Sprinkle tablespoon-sized chunks of dough all over the bottom on the pan and then press down to flatten and even it into the bottom, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides. Chill for at least 20 minutes. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
- In a food processor, combine all of the lemon peel and one cup of sugar. Process until completely combined, scraping down the bowl and pulsing a few more times until you can’t see anymore bits of peel. (if you don’t want to use a food processor, you could zest the lemons with a microplane and just add it to the sugar. It won’t be quite as lemony but will still be good).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the processed lemon zest/sugar, the remaining 1- ¾ cup sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until filling is just set. Let cool to room temperature.
- Cut into 1″ squares (or whatever size bars you like) and dust the lemon bars generously with confectioners’ sugar. If the sugar melts on top, just re-dust it and it will stay.