And kids, it's so easy. I say that all the time, I know, but truly. Considering the depth of flavors in this simple dessert, it's crazy how non-intimidating it is to put together.
I actually made two: one for home, and one for the ladies at the gym who watch Paige while I try to burn off all the chicken fried steak and lemon bars I eat. ;)
Shortbread Lemon Bars
(adapted from FineCooking.com)
- non-stick cooking spray
- 14 tablespoons salted butter, just melted (and cooled to warm, not hot)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 3 - 4 lemons)
- 1 tablespoon finely-packed, finely-grated fresh lemon zest (a microplane yields perfect results)
Crust: Preheat oven to 325°F.
Line a straight-sided 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. Lightly coat the sides of the foil (not the bottom) with nonstick cooking spray to prevent the lemon topping from sticking.
In a medium bowl, stir together the butter and sugar. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm. Prick the surface of the dough (multiple times) with a fork.
Bake until the crust is golden and set, about 30 minutes. While crust is cooking, make the lemon topping.
Lemon Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, flour, and salt together until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
Pour the topping over the hot crust. Return the pan to the oven, increasing the heat to 350°F.
Bake until the topping is set in the center (no longer wiggles when the pan is moved) and the edges are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Set the pan on a metal rack to cool until the crust is completely firm, at least 1 hour.
When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides, and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut the bars into 2-inch squares.