Lemon Bars: A gooey lemon center with a shortbread flavored crust

Gooey lemon bars

 

I have been meaning to try this recipe from the CIA for weeks. Three lemons have been taunting me from my kitchen counter. ‘Squeeze me, grate me, mix me with sugar and eggs and eat me.’ Here goes…

Ingredients: For the crust: 1 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/4 stick room temperature butter, 3/4 cup powdered sugar (aka confectioners sugar), 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, pinch of salt.

For the filling: 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 tsp grated lemon zest, 1/4 cup flour, 1 1/4 cup organic sugar (I buy the Whole Foods brand), 3 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a 8.5 x 11 inch baking pan (or the closest baking pan in size) and cover with parchment paper. Rub just a bit of butter on the parchment paper to grease it slightly, or spray it with cooking spray.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, 1 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, vanilla, and salt, for about 3 minutes or until a dough forms. Press it evenly into the prepared pan, and bake the crust for 20-25 minutes or until the edge are just barely golden.

Remove the crust from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. Lower the oven temperature to 325. Now make the lemon filling. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, organic sugar. Whisk in the eggs. Add the lemon juice and zest and whisk to combine. When the crust is completely cool, or pretty much there (I lack the patience needed for the crust to be absolutely cool), pour the lemon mixture on top of the crust and carefully put it back in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until it is firm. I actually had to leave mine in for longer , because I used a smaller baking dish than the 9×13 the CIA suggests. Cool completely in the pan before dusting the top with powdered sugar and cutting into bars.

I left my pan out overnight, so I would not suggest refrigerating these. They are a fantastic balance of sour and sweet, and with a shortbread-like crust, they are bound to be enjoyed by all. Buon ‘appetito!

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Categories: Baking

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