The Best Lemon Bars

These lemon bars have an extreme intense lemony flavor for those who love to pucker up. Adapted recipe by loveveggiesandyoga

Photo by Robert P.

PREP TIME

20

minutes

TOTAL TIME

60

minutes

SERVINGS

16

bars

PREP TIME

20

minutes

TOTAL TIME

60

minutes

SERVINGS

16

servings

Ingredients

  • CRUST:

  • 1/2

    cup unsalted butter (1-stick) softened

  • 1

    cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4

    heaping cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1

    tablespoon cornstarch

  • Pinch salt, optional and to taste

  • FILLING:

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1

    cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2

    cup lemon juice, or to taste (about 2 juicy medium lemons; see note below)

  • 2

    tablespoons half-and-half (whole milk or cream are okay)

  • 1/2

    teaspoon vanilla extract, optional and to taste

  • 1/2

    teaspoon lemon extract, optional and to taste

  • 2

    tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2

    teaspoons lemon zest loosely packed, or to taste

  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. For the Crust: In a large bowl, combine all crust ingredients and cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pasty cutter or just stir and mash with a spoon until a sandy, crumbly mixture forms. I do it by hand because it's easy, fast, and I don't have to wash out my food processor; but use one if you prefer. Transfer crumbly mixture to prepared pan and using your fingertips, press crumbs down to form an even flat layer of crust. Prick crust with a fork haphazardly in a dozen places so air and steam can escape while it bakes. If air bubbles form while baking, prick them down and return pan to oven. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust has just barely set. It should not be golden or browned at all, it should still be white. You just want it to stick together and it doesn't need to be cooked through fully since pan is going back in the oven to bake filling. While crust bakes, make the filling. For the Filling: In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, lemon juice (start with 1/4 cup and increase to taste; I find that using less than 1/2 cup isn't intense enough, but add to taste), half-and-half, optional vanilla (I used it even though it's not traditional), optional lemon extract (I don't find it necessary and omitted it), and whisk until smooth. Add the flour and whisk until lumps are gone. Add lemon zest (add to taste, starting with 1 teaspoon but I prefer 2 teaspoons) and whisk to combine. Pour mixture over crust. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (I baked for 18), or until the top has just set and isn't jiggly in center. Some movement and looseness is normal and desired, you just don't want it liquid-like or runny; slicing into some looseness is fine, liquid is not. Top will be yellow and lemon-colored, but not browned. Allow bars to cool at room temperature for at least on hour. Cover pan and refrigerate for at least three hours, or overnight, before slicing and serving. Optionally, dust with confectioners' sugar before serving. Store extra bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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