Always a classic, these Lemon Bars feature a silky smooth lemon filling over a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread crust.
When I think of summer in terms of food, strawberries and lemon are among the first items that come to mind. Those two, whether combined or separate have the power to brighten up and somehow even cool down a scorching hot day!
A classic to bring and serve at any summer gathering are these Lemon Bars. Mine just happen to be “one of the best treats ever” (Warren’s words).
I sought to create a sturdy, yet melt-in-your-mouth shortbread crust that could complement a thick lemon filling without falling apart the moment you picked it up. I owe the sturdiness to the perfect ratio of flour and butter and the right packing technique. The melt-in-your-mouth quality can be attributed to just the slightest bit of corn starch. It’s unbelievable what a little corn starch can do!
The lemon filling needed to be sweeter and lighter than lemon curd, yet thick at the same time. I achieved the thickness with the addition of some flour and a healthy scoop of sugar imparted just the right amount of sweetness. A good amount of eggs added richness without making it feel overly indulgent, while lemon zest (in addition to freshly squeezed lemon juice), really made the lemon flavor pop.
Once cooled, the bars slice clean and transport with ease. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving and your guests will be hooked!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, allowing a 1-inch overhang on each side. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
To make the crust, add flour, corn starch, powdered sugar and butter to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles damp sand.
Pour into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Using the palms of your hands or the bottom of a glass, pack the crust down to form an even and tight base. Bake for 20 minutes.
While the crust is baking, make the filling by whisking together the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add the flour and mix until no clumps remain.
Add the lemon juice, zest and salt. Stir to combine. When the crust is ready, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Pour the filling immediately into the hot crust and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the center is set.
Allow to cool completely in pan on a cooling rack. Use the foil to remove cooled slab onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 even bars and dust with powdered sugar.
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