Lemon Bars Redux
This was meant to be a picture of a beautiful pan of lemon bars. As you can see, it didn’t work out quite the way I’d planned.
But it’s not the end of the world, because they are so good that this is what my lemon bars really look like. Gone.
It will doubtless surprise you to learn that I’m very picky about my lemon bars. I like a very flaky, crumbly, not-too-sweet shortbread on the bottom, a gooey, but not runny, layer of very tart and lemon-y sauce, a paper-thin layer of crispy topping, and a drift of powdered sugar. The perfect lemon bar is hard to cut, and looks a little raggedy on the plate:
Lemon is one of my very favorite flavors in the world: gingerbread with lemon sauce, lemon meringue pie, lemon drops (for several weeks when I was pregnant with Tuxedo Boy I lived on Lemonheads and chili-tamarind candy from Mexico–thanks, Rigo!). So this is really and truly the best lemon bar recipe ever. I’ve done the work: you reap the benefits.
Imperial Lemon Bars
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan, preferably Pyrex.
2 sticks softened butter (do I have to say it?)
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Mix these ingredients in your Kitchen-Aid till well-combined. Press evenly into the bottom of your prepared pan, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool while you mix up the lemon part. Don’t bother to wash out the bowl–it doesn’t matter.
1/2 t freshly grated lemon rind
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 cup unbleached flour
Beat eggs, sugar, lemon rind, and lemon juice till thick and lovely. Add flour and baking powder and continue to beat until mixture is well-combined. Pour over the shortbread and put it back in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and well-set in the center. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars.
Theoretically, this makes something like 24 dainty little Lemon Bars. In practice, people hack out great chunks and eat them over the pan, so I hesitate to give you a serving number. You’ll get a sense of what the market will bear the second or third time you make them.