The best lemon bars

Crisp shortbread crust, lemony topping, sweet vanilla glaze – what's not to love?

The Pastry Chef's Baking
A tart lemon topping over a shortbread crust makes a classic lemon bar.

Almost everyone I know loves lemon bars and almost every lemon bar recipe I see claims it’s "the best." I have very jaded taste buds so I rarely go into the superlative when I’m describing something unless it really, really deserves it. It doesn’t mean it isn’t good if I don’t call it "the best." Only that there are so many amazing recipes out there that are super fantastic that it’s hard to claim any single one recipe as "the best" of anything.

So I don’t know if this is the best lemon bar recipe I’ve ever tried. My normal go-to lemon bar recipe is also quite good and I don’t know if I would choose this one above that. The good thing is it's not really a competition. Both are good. Both can be made easily and eaten even more easily. Crisp shortbread crust, lemony topping, sweet vanilla glaze – not much not to love here.  If you’re a lemon bar fan, give this recipe a whirl. It’s good for using up at least one lemon.

Oh, and true confession time, I probably left this in the oven for 5 minutes longer than I should have. I was busy doing something on my computer and the time got away from me. By the time I checked on these, the top was golden brown all over and edging more towards "brown" than "golden" – eek. The good thing with lemon bars though is they’re hardy enough to withstand a few minutes' neglect because the topping is more of a custard and not a cake that will dry out. And the bottom came out a little crisp but not burnt and not crunchy-hard.  Dodged a baking bullet. Whew.

The Best Lemon Bars
From Your Home-Based Mom

For the crust:
1/2 cup butter, cold
1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the filling:
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
grated rind of 1 lemon

For the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
lemon juice to make soft glaze

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8- x 8-inch pan with foil, lightly spray with cooking spray.

2. Cut together butter, flour and powdered sugar until mixture resembles coarse meal and press into an even layer into prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Mix together sugar, flour and baking powder. Add in eggs, lemon juice and lemon rind.

4. Pour over hot, baked crust and bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden brown and mixture is set.

5. Mix together powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to make a glaze soft enough to drizzle over lemon bars while they are still warm. Glaze, let cool then cut into squares.

Related post on The Pastry Chef's Baking: Land O Lakes Lemon Bars

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