Lemon Bars also known as Lemon Squaresare are probably the most requested dessert treat in my family, hands down. And when shredded coconut and white chocolate are mixed in the lemon bar equation…Oh Lord…my camera doesn’t click fast enough! Whip these up for Mother’s Day or Easter or any day of the week and make everyone happy they know you!
Lemon “Love” Bars
I have been making these beautiful, lusciously sweet bars Lemon Bars for at least 30 years since my mom designated me official family Lemon Bar maker, LOL! She loved them so much; she got a batch every Mother’s Day. Gosh, I miss her😢
Now, I’m making these Lemon Love Bars for my kids, yes they inherited the addiction. They both always request these bars for their birthday treat. No birthday cakes in our family…just bars or cold pies…or hot pies or homemade cookies…You know what I mean!
How Do You Make Lemon Bars?
Lemon Bars really are very simple to make, it’s basically a two bowl recipe. One for the crust and the other for the lemon filling. And then, of course, the glass baking dish.
To make the best tasting bars you must use real ingredients, no bottled lemon juice or plastic margarine for these sweeties. The real stuff is a must!
Yummy Shortbread Crust
As any lemon bar lover will tell you, “It’s the crust that makes the magic”. I cannot stress this enough! In this shortbread recipe, I have added oatmeal, almonds, cardamom, and lemon zest.
These added ingredients are a game changer folks! The oatmeal and almonds make the crust a little bit crispy to the bite while still remaining soft and buttery.
The cardemon adds a sweet little spice and the lemon zest adds just that extra bit of sweet, sour pucker. I’m telling ya…you won’t make it any other way from now on!
Below is the result of my 30+ years of many crust experiments.
Flour, I find that all purpose, non bleached is the best to use.
The Best Lemon Filling
This lemon filling is in one word Delish! I’ve tried so many different lemon bar recipes and I always go back to the original I started with from the Blue Denim Gourmet Cookbook my mom gifted me when I moved into my first apartment after college.
Blueberries or Raspberries (optional)
vanilla or Almond Extract (optional)
Whisk the sugar, flour and baking powder together. Add beaten eggs and whisk, then add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and whisk again. Make sure it incorporates well and the lemon juice doesn’t sit on the eggs. The lemon will “cook” the eggs if not blended well together.
Tips and Tricks for Awesome Lemon Bars
Make sure you have blended all your dry crust ingredients in the processor before you add the butter.
Use cold, soft butter. Let it set for about 20 minutes at room temperature, cut into smallish cubes and then add to the food processor.
Lightly grease the glass baking pan with spray oil and then finger create the crust conforming to the pan.
BAKE THE CRUST BEFORE YOU ADD THE FILLING!
You will know the crust is ready when it just starts to turn golden. About 15-20 minutes at 350.
Pour the filling into the really warm crust so it will set up on the bottom.
Filling is done when it is no longer jiggly in the center.
Sprinkle powder sugar on about 5-10 minutes after it comes out of the oven.
The best way I know to cut Lemon Bars is to wet a knife with warm water and cut when they are completely cooled off and chilled.
Refrigerating Lemon Bars is the best way to store them. Make sure they are covered with plastic or foil.
I have never put lemon bars in the freezer but I can’t imagine they would be as good as just storing them in the fridge. Plus, I doubt you would ever have any left over that would warrant freezing for later eats.