Monday, July 29, 2013

lemon bars

Ok, I've been making these for years. They are that good! and I know its not just me -they've had the endorsement of my professional baking buddies.

secret- it's the salt that makes these so good!

lemon bars, lemon squares, course salt, fresh lemon juice desserts, homemade lemon dessert, one bowl dessert
Lemon Bar Cookies

These sweet and puckery bars call for course salt, both in the crust and the filling. Before my first time making these, I had never put course salt into my baking goods. I was a little skeptical the first time, but after the first bite, I realized why- the bite a tiny burst of salty which plays so well with the sour and sweet Its perfect!

Well worth picking up a box if you don't already have some on hand. You have to stop by the market for fresh lemons, anyway!


For the Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar     
  • 3/4 teaspoon course salt

For the Filling

  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4-6 regular size lemons,  less for jumbo size)
  • 1/4 teaspoon course salt
  • Confectioner's sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish; line dish with waxed paper or parchment paper.
  2. Make crust: grate butter on a cheese grater with large holes. In a separate large bowl, whisk together flour, confectioners' sugar, and salt. Add butter; stir with a wooden spoon until combined and mixture looks crumbly.
  3. Transfer mixture to baking dish; press evenly onto bottom with your hands. Chill crust in freezer 15 minutes. Bake until slightly golden, 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make filling: whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. Stir in lemon juice and milk.
  5. Pour filling mixture over hot crust. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until filling is set and edges are slightly golden brown, about 18 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Grip paper; lift out dessert, and set on cutting board. With a sieve, dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares.
Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies.

Cooks Tip:
  • Juice the lemons directly over a glass measuring cup topped with a small sieve. This will catch any stray seeds, and save the frustration of fishing them out of your juice.
  • These will be extra delectable with whole milk, but you can save the calories and use a lower fat variety without sacrificing deliciousness.
  • I make this whole recipe in one bowl. Reuse the first bowl that you made the crust in - no need for extra dishes!
  • Don't forget to chill the crust before baking. Well worth the 15 minutes.
Server's Tip:
  • Wait until the bars are completely cool before dusting with sugar and cutting into bars. Dusted sugar will just melt into a warm bar, and they will cut cleaner when cool.

Happy Baking,

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  1. These sounds heavenly. I am definitely making them. ... lemon, salt, butter .... how can they not be good. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. These sound wonderful! Your picture is beautiful. Stop by and visit!

  3. Your picture shows the most perfect lemon bars I've ever seen! Pinning and I've gotta make them!

  4. These look amazing and now I'm craving some! YUMMY! :)

  5. These look so good! Thanks for sharing at Mix it up Monday :)

  6. These look delicious! I love lemon bars!!!

  7. Lemon bars are my weakness! Yours look so dense and lemony. Stopping by from Whimsy Wednesday to say hello :)

  8. Your Lemon bars look fabulous... love all the tips. thank you

  9. I love everything lemon! They look delicious :)

  10. I believe this would be a hit with the whole family. I'm not the hugest lover of lemons, but this looks amazing!

  11. I love lemon bars!!! I've actually never made them myself. I will try this recipe. Your photo is delicious.

  12. Love the dishes tip - that makes a big difference here! Looks yummy!

  13. Kim F. Spokane, WAMay 30, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    I chose this recipe because it was made in a 9X13 dish instead of an 8X8 like the recipe I've been making for years. I'll never go back - these were outstanding! I followed the recipe exactly & wouldn't change a thing. They set up so nicely and have a fabulous lemon flavor. All you lemon lovers out there - this is for you! Thanks Laura!

  14. I tried these, and they are by far the best lemon bars I've ever had/made. I found one thing problematic, and that was the amount of butter in the crust (it seemed much too flour-y to me, and I added some more and it turned out perfect). However, this may have been an error on my part, as I have a tendency to confuse things. I'll be trying it again in the future. Thanks for the post!!!!

  15. Question: Can these be frozen (minus the powdered sugar) or stored in some way to last a couple of weeks? I've been looking for a great lemon bar recipe for a special party I'm baking for and these look great! Thanks!

  16. So good! I made these awhile back from your recipe and then again this weekend for an event. They were eaten before the party officially started! So tasty!!!! I do make 1.5x the crust because I like it to be a little thicker. And I refrigerate them for an hour before adding the powdered sugar to the top. Otherwise I found it was melting even when at room temperature (maybe because it's SO HOT here) - I think they taste amazing especially when cold from the fridge. Thanks for the recipe.

  17. I just made those and they are absolutly amazing, i added some lemon zest and used fat free milk , and its so so good thank you


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