Continuing on my theme of doing something extra for Lent, this week I baked lemon squares at the request of an art teacher at school. I bring things into the staff room pretty regularly, but usually it’s just leftovers of things I make for others. This time, the lemon squares are specifically for my fellow teachers. And it’s finally spring, so yellow, citrusy treats finally feel appropriate.
I have never actually made lemon squares from scratch. I think I didn’t realize there was a way to do it without a box mix. And as I started looking through recipes, I wasn’t totally sure how to pick one. I settled on the one that called for the juice of two lemons without being any more specific than that. I have no idea how much juice you can get out of a lemon, so I didn’t want to mess with the ones that called for exact amounts. Also, this recipe claims to be “The Best Lemon Bars Recipe”, so it had to be good.
First, mix together 2 cups of flour, butter, and 1/2 cup of sugar. I hadn’t used my hand mixer in awhile, but was in a bit of a rush so I pulled it out. That resulted in quite a bit of flour on my counter top since in its absence I had forgotten that it only has two speeds: fast and faster.
Then, press the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 pan as evenly as you can. One benefit to using 2 full sticks of butter is that there is absolutely no need to grease the pan.
Bake the crust at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges of the base are golden brown.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. This time I decided to go the hand whisking route since I didn’t want any more splatter.
Whisk in the eggs until well combined. I think it’s really the eggs that give lemon bars the great yellow color.
Finally, whisk in the juice of two lemons. I don’t have a juicer, but I am admittedly pretty good at getting the maximum amount of juice out of a lemon just by squeezing with my bare hands. If you go this route, don’t forget to pick out any seeds that may have found their way into the batter.
When the base is done, remove it from the oven and pour the lemon mixture over the top. Return it to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes. You aren’t really looking for anything in particular here – the bars will solidify as they cool.
Finally, cut the bars into squares once cool. I haven’t tasted them (obviously) but my doorman hasn’t come running up to complain since I gave him one, so they must be edible. If you want to dust on some confectioner’s sugar on top, definitely wait until they are completely cool. More sugar is never a bad idea.
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 lemons, juiced
- In a medium bowl, blend together the butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and flour until crumby and combined.
- Press mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining flour and sugar.
- Whisk in eggs and lemon juice.
- Pour over base after removing from oven. Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
- Allow to cool in pan before cutting into squares.