Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Good Morning, everyone. I know you’re all probably dying to know that the challenge is this month for Sally’s Baking Addiction. I was actually surprised when it came out, as it’s one of my favorite desserts, but one that I’ve never made before: Lemon Bars.

When I was a kid, I remember my Nan (grandmother) would make these all of the time. I don’t think I really appreciated the flavor of lemon as child. In my mind it was too bold and tart. As an adult, though, I can’t get enough of it. Now I consider lemon a bright, sweet, and full of joy-flavor. And the bright color doesn’t hurt either! Last June, my Nan passed away at the age of 84. She’d been such a constant in my life for over 30 years. She’s the reason I started on this baking journey in the first place. This has been a hard month for me so far, and when I saw what Sally picked for this month’s challenge, I really felt like it was Nan reminding me that she’s still with me, and that life is still full of good, sweet, and bright things.

Not only have I never made lemon bars before, I’ve never made a shortbread crust before either. The recipe is simple enough. You mix your melted butter, flour, sugar, salt and vanilla extract together in a bowl and then press into a prepared 9 x 13 pan. I’ve never been any good at “pressing” doughs or batters into square containers like this. I always end up with finger prints in the dough. I’ve tried using spatulas to flatten it out, but sometimes it just doesn’t do the trick. This one didn’t turn out too bad tho.

Next you make your lemon filling. This is mainly made out of eggs, butter, sugar and lemon juice. I used bottled lemon juice instead of fresh, which worked just fine. I’m sure that fresh lemons would have been better.

Lemon filling before baking.

Mmmm, I want to eat one of these right now, it looks so good! Look at that bright yellow color. Who could resist?! Next you bake the whole thing for about 20 minutes until the filling no longer jiggles. After it’s done baking, it needs to do a whole lot of chilling, about 2-3 hours. After it’s chilled, you can top with powdered sugar, slice, and serve!

One thing that confused me about this particular recipe was the crust. I don’t remember the crust being so thick in my grandmother’s recipe. My mom sent it to me so that I can compare. I might try to make these again in a few weeks using my grandmother’s recipe and make the crust thinner. The recipe said to bake the crust until the edges started to brown. I honestly can’t tell if the crust was over done or under. If you look at the photo below, the crust has light points and dark points. The dark points lead me to believe that it is underdone, like pie dough. But the crust is pretty hard, which leads me to think that it might have been over-baked. Hmm.

Crust problems aside, I still think these turned out well. I’m doing everything I can not to eat all of them by myself! They are just too tasty! Do any of you have a different recipe for lemon bars? -Jen

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