Mar 29 2012
L has become an afficionado of lemon square baking. We have toyed with multiple recipes and come up with our own that is very lemony, with a golden brown shortbread bottom. Since it is lemon season, I’m looking for ways to use up our bounty. I also volunteered to bring desserts to a Parent Association meeting, so this was a good excuse to bake…yet again. I’m also bringing soft pumpkin cookies and brownies.
One of the keys that I’ve recently found in making cookie squares/bars is to line the baking dish with foil and then spray the foil with non-stick spray. I didn’t do this in the past and always had a few squares that were sacrificed in the cutting and removing from the dish. Actually, that wasn’t a problem, since the ugly ones taste the same as the pretty ones. However, it really is easier and we bought a big mandoline a few years ago for chopping and it makes the perfect tool for cutting cookie bars. The squares come out quite beautifully.
Best Ever Lemon Squares
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
14 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (1 stick plus 6 Tbsp.)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 13″ metal pan with foil – length-wise and width-wise. Spray lined pan with non-stick cooking spray, or butter the foil.
In a medium bowl, stir together the 2 1/4 cups flour and the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Add the melted butter and stir in, until well mixed. Sprinkle the mixture evenly into the prepared pan, then pat it down to form the crust. Using the bottom of a glass to pat it into the pan works well. Bake in the preheated oven for about 22-25 minutes, until the crust is a golden brown. Make sure that the crust looks cooked – you don’t want it to be under-done.
While the crust is cooking, make the lemon filling. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric beater until light in color. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder and 1/4 cup of flour until there are no flour lumps. Stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Stir the lemon juice into the egg/sugar mixture. Then stir in the lemon zest. Pour over the crust when it comes out of the oven and is still warm.
Return the pan to the oven for an additional 40 minues, or until the bars are set. Cool completely
To cut the lemon squares, lift the foil from the pan and place onto a cutting board. Remove the foil from the edges of the lemon squares before you cut – if for some reason the foil has stuck to the bars (likely), slice very close to the edge of the bars (this actually gives you a very nice edge all around). Then, slice the bars into 24 pieces (6 on the long side, 4 on the short side), using a long, thin knife (dipped in water, if necessary, to prevent sticking).
Sift confectioner’s sugar over the tops of the bars just before serving.