Remember the bake sales at school? A few times during the year, the Parent’s Association would raise funds, setting up a table of donated home-baked goodies to sell. I was always so excited to exchange my few extra coins for a sweet treat. And while I’m obviously drawn to chocolate, there was one treat that called to me louder than any other on the bake sale table: lemon bars.
Then and now, lemon bars taste other-worldly and enchanting–smooth and crunchy, sweet and tart, the color of soft sunshine with a dusting of powdered sugar that inevitably ends up on your upper lip. When is the last time you made your own lemon bars? I’ll bet it’s been too long.
Zesty Lemon Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon lemon zest, grated
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest, grated
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To prepare the crust, sift the flour and powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon zest and softened butter and mix with a pastry blender until it is combined and clings together (though still appears somewhat dry). Press the mixture into a 9×13 greased baking dish. Bake for 20-25, or until it reaches a light golden color. Leave oven on.
In another medium mixing bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer for 5 full minutes, until frothy and thick. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix until well combined. In another bowl, sift flour and baking powder together, then stir into the egg mixture. Pour over the warm crust and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool thoroughly. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and any remaining lemon zest.