Lemon Bars

 

Writer and photographer Monica Longenbaker

With a sun-kissed citrus filling and a buttery shortbread crust, these sweet and tangy lemon bars are the perfect embodiment of spring. Made with staple ingredients around the house, they are a convenient and crowd-pleasing dessert for baby showers, wedding showers, potlucks or brunches.

Lemon Bars
Yield: 9-12 bars

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
pinch of salt

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. (Tip: Overlap two pieces of parchment paper and hang about 2 inches over the edge to allow for easier removal later on). Grease the sides of the pan and the parchment paper.

To prepare the crust, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the softened butter, vanilla extract and lemon zest. With a wooden spoon, press the butter into the flour mixture until a soft dough is formed.

Press the dough into the prepared baking pan with your fingers. If necessary, lightly dust your hands in flour to prevent them from sticking to the dough.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown around the edges.

Filling
2 large eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
powdered sugar for serving<s/trong>

Directions:
While the crust is baking, prepare the filling. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and salt. Set aside.

As soon as the crust is out of the oven, lower the heat to 325°F. Pour the filling over the warm crust and bake again for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is set.

Allow the pan to cool, then place into the refrigerator for at least two hours (preferably overnight).

Once completely chilled, carefully remove the lemon bars from the pan and cut into bars. (Tip: Dip your knife into a glass of hot water and wipe with a towel between each cut to create smooth slices).

Keep refrigerated until serving (up to 3-4 days). You may also store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 weeks.

Before serving, dust the tops with powdered sugar.

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