Saturday my friend Jules instagramed a picture of a bowl full of fresh meyer lemons with a request for recipes. I had to pass along the recipe I use for lemon bars. It is simple, with a buttery crust that tastes like shortbread and a top layer of luxurious lemon curd without all the time it takes to make lemon curd. These are ridiculously easy to make and truly are addicting if tart and sweet are your thangs.
Rumor has it, when you are pregnant you have cravings. You know, like in Lady and the Tramp when Darling sends Jim Dear out in the middle of a snow storm to pick up chop suey? Those kind of cravings. I never really had those until I was pregnant with my third baby. I didn’t believe they existed. Food aversions, yes. Cravings, meh. Honestly, I used pregnancy as a good excuse to induldge in whatever the heck I wanted.
Murphy’s Law I suppose, because I got hit with massive cravings for tart and sour — I should have known I was pregnant with a boy because of how different things were the third time around. Honestly, I existed on a steady diet of anything with mustard or sauerkraut, and of course these lemon bars. Thankfully, the cravings have gone away (now I just crave everything), but two years later I kind of still wouldn’t mind eating these lemon bars regularly. I know the recipe by heart, too.
Here is what you need to make some yourself:
1 stick of butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cup of sugar, divided
1 cup of flour and 3 Tbs flour, divided
3 1/2 Tbs lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
To make your shortbread crust, cream the softened stick of butter and 1/4 cup of sugar together. I just use a fork to cream this stuff. It is so easy, you can’t screw it up. Once your butter and sugar are creamed together, add 1 Cup of flour and mix until pretty much incorporated. If you are mixing it by hand, it probably won’t totally come together as a dough. That’s okay. Just dump it into a 9×9 glass baking pan and press it down in as even a layer as possible with damp fingers. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until it starts to become golden.
If you have the patience, wait until it is cooled before making your filling. It will create a crispier crust (I never have the patience for this, btw).
While your crust is baking or cooling (you amaze me if you can wait that long) beat your eggs in a clean, medium-sized mixing bowl. Add your lemon juice, the remaining 1 cup of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 3 Tbs flour. Beat this until well blended (again…I just use a whisk and do this by hand).
Once your crust is done, lower your oven temperature to 325 degrees. Pour your lemon curd on top of your baked crust, swirl it around a bit to make sure it is even on top of that wonderful shortbread (by now your house should smell amazing) and bake for another 20-25 minutes. Watch this around 20 minutes. You want it to be a little bubbly, but not turning brown on top.
Let your lemon bars cool completely. You can eat these while they are still a bit warm, but I like them best cold from the fridge. That’s where you want to store them, too. They will stay fresh for a few days if they last that long. I don’t even want to know how many calories are in these things. I could inhale a whole pan in ten minutes if given the chance. They are sticky with the right balance of sweet and sour, and the crust is the perfect, almost savory, compliment to the lemon curd.
*Note: a pinner had issues with the lemon bars sticking. She didn’t use a glass baking pan, so that may be one problem. She also baked for 27 minutes. Just a word of warning, if you bake these too long, the sugars will start carmelize too much and harden quickly. You don’t want them to start browning. If you are worried about them sticking (mine do a little, but not enough to not be able to get them out), you can butter you baking dish. Stick with glass though!