Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Cookies... Lemon Bars!

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A good lemon bar recipe is great to have on hand all year round.  They are great and refreshing in the summer and they also make a nice addition to the dessert table around Christmas time.  Unfortunately, up to recently, I have had a love/ hate relationship with lemon bars. I love to eat them but I hate to bake them!. They either come out too gooey or they fall apart when I cut them. Either the crust is too thin or too thick. They are either too lemony or not lemony enough. I have read at least ten recipes to try out and finally, a few months ago I decided to start with Ina Garten's and take it from there. At least I knew her crusts were great!

One of the comments I had read about her bars was that they were a bit too tart so that was something to watch out for. Also mentioned was the fact that they were a bit too runny when you cut them. This was solved easily..wait, wait wait. We always tend to dig in too early without letting things cool down enough. That happens to me with brownies..but who can wait! My solution was to stick them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes AFTER they had cooled down. I also cut back on the tartness by putting in a little less lemon juice than called for. ..3/4 C vs. 1 Cup. That would also make them easier to cut. All in all, I was very pleased..and I think you will be too.

Lemon bars are great to serve for dessert at lunch, tea and just about any time I can think of! Just pass them around in a beautiful tray with nice napkins and forget the plates!  They are also a nice addition to your list for Christmas cookies!

Yield : 20 bars or large squares


For the crust:

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Better yet, when they are cooled, stick in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. They will be easier to cut.

Cut into bars or squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.


  1. Thank you! I've always loved lemon bars and now can treat my friends to them. Your blog is beautiful and I'm looking forward to enjoying more of it.
    Happy Holidays!
    - Jerr

  2. Thanks for sharing a little bit of yourself, your recipes, your home and of course, Lucy!
    xxxooo, Stephanie, Little Dog and Tinker


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