Recipe: Lemon Bars

It’s time for another recipe! First, the recipe. Then, me blathering onward about my occasionally questionable culinary capabilities and the memories this particular feast holds for me.

  • The Ingredients
    • The shortbread:
      • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, melted
      • 1/2 cup white sugar
      • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
      • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 2 cups and 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • The Lemon Curd:
      • 2 cups white sugar
      • 6 large eggs, fresh
      • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
      • The zest of two lenons
      • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • The Way of Preparing
    1. Preheat your oven to 325°F
    2. Use a 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish if you have it. Line it with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
    3. Whisk together the melted butter, sugar, extracts, and salt. Slowly mix in the flour until a thick dough forms.
    4. Press firmly into your prepared pan, making sure the layer of shortbread is even. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are just a tiny bit golden. Resist the urge to overbake!
    5. Sift together the sugar and flour in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until completely combined.
    6. This is not a cooked lemon curd, so pour your lemon filling over the still-warm cookie and bake for 21-28 minutes, turning once.
    7. It will still slightly jiggle in the center when done, like set gelatin. I prefer mine a little more set, personally and cool in until it doesn’t jiggle.
    8. Cool at room temperature for at least an hour before moving to the refrigerator to chill completely.
    9. Slice and serve, with an optional dusting of powdered/icing sugar.
  • Notes
    • Tweaks: lime bars are a thing too! I‘be made lemon lime bars (once) and basically halved my curd mix, before adding the lemon juice, and did half lemon juice, half lime with the zest of the respective fruits.
    • Apparently blood orange is a variant I need to try, but I’d love to make orange bars and do a nice creme on top?

Memories

So. I used to make this with Blue Bonnet margarine, because my friend, at the time, was terribly allergic to all forms of dairy. So I found a work around for making the shortbread and found a filling that packed a flavorful punch.

But Theo, why the hell do you have lemon bars, a traditionally summer treat, in December?

A) because I can

B) because they’re fantastic to bring to a potluck

C) because I live in Florida and we have citrus year-round here.

So! I hope you try this recipe out and ring in the New Year on a sweet note!

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