Making Lemon Bars out of Lemons

This week, we got to see a few friends that my fiancé and I used to work with who happened to find themselves in Cape Cod! Did I mention I met my hubby-to-be at work? We didn’t work in the same office, but our jobs brought us together on the same projects – we were both checking each other out over PowerPoint presentations to get ready for a conference about the ocean!

Lemon Bars mixer full
The dough for the crust should still be a little crumbly before it gets pressed into the pan.

Anyway, we’re in Cape Cod, prepping for my parents to come visit from North Carolina (i.e. cleaning), getting ready for my fiancé’s family to descend on Cape Cod from the other side of the bridges, as many Massholes (my fiancé’s term of endearment, not mine. He says he can say it because he is one.) do between end of May through mid-October, and my fiancé says to me: you know what we should make our friends? Lemon bars.

This, of course came as no surprise to me as he could eat lemon bars for days. So I responded with: make our friends lemon bars or make you lemon bars?

He answered: Well, I do like lemon bars…

And because I’m a sucker for my fiancé: voila – lemon bars!

In all honestly, I do find this recipe to be pretty quick, easy to follow, and sweet and tart – as any good lemon bar recipe should be.

Lemon Bars cooked full
Fully-cooked and pre-powder sugared – air bubbles are ok! We’ll fancy ’em up in the next step!

(At the end of the day, we did wrap most of the bars up in brown parchment paper to give to our friends…after we snuck a couple for ourselves, of course. And knowing my fiancé, I’m sure I’ll find that he hid a few for himself.)

For the Crust:
1 cup softened butter (2 sticks) (or if you’re me, firm butter microwaved last minute!)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
Zest of 1 lemon *reminder to zest before you juice – it’s so much easier!

For the Lemon Filling:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
4 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons (about 2/3 cup)

For the Topping:
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine 2 sticks of softened butter, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, zest of 1 lemon until crumbly (as shown in the first picture). Press into the bottom of an ungreased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown (it’s better to overbake then under-bake!).

To make the lemon filling, in another bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup+1 tablespoon flour and then whisk in the 4 eggs, 2/3 cup lemon juice, and zest of 2 lemons.

Pour the lemon filling over the golden brown, baked crust. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

If the bars aren’t completely firm when you first take them out, they’ll firm up when they cool.

After they’re completely cool, using a sifter, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top (if you try to do this before they’re 100% cooled, the sugar will melt!)

Note: the best way to cut them is to first let them completely cool, then stick the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes. They’ll still be a little crumbly when you start to slice in, but that’s part of the appeal!

Yield: 12 lemon bars

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