Lovely lemon bars

It may not look like the first day of spring out your window, but these bright, citrusy lemon bars will bring a burst of sunlight to your day.

The Runaway Spoon
This simpler version of the classic lemon bars will bring a burst of citrusy sunshine to your day.

The story I was going to write here was about the joys of bright citrus in the gray and gloomy weather of winter. A nice tale about citrus fruits being the sunshine in season during the bleak midwinter.

But we had a springlike February with 75 degree F. days this year and lovely sunny weather. I ate lunch on a patio. In February. I thought about putting off this post, but the truth is, sweet and tangy lemon treats are perfect for any time of year, no matter the weather, so why wait? Whatever the weather, whatever the mood a sweet, tart and tangy lemon treat always lifts my spirits.

These bars make a nice little change of pace from chocolate brownies or cookie bars for a party, and they really do take on this fresh, lovely yellow tint that makes them stand out. The tart lemon glaze makes all the difference, adding the tart note to the sweet bars.

I find these a little simpler to make than a classic lemon bar, (not that lemon bars are all that difficult) and I almost always have the ingredients on hand to make a quick treat. You could also use Meyer lemons, which won’t be quite as tart but still have a lovely citrus note.

Lovely lemon bars
Makes 16 bars

Zest of two lemons
Juice of one lemon (4 tablespoons total)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8- by 8-inch square pan with non-stick foil or parchment paper.

2. Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer to break it up, then add 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the sugar. Beat until fluffy then add the flour and salt and beat until combined.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice until the batter is smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out into an even layer.

4. Bake until firm and lightly golden at the edges and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
lemon zest

1. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the remaining lemon zest together in a small bowl. Pour the glaze evenly over the cooled bars and tilt the pan to create and even layer.

2. Leave to set, then remove the bars from the pan by lifting out the foil liner. Open the edges of the liner and allow any pooled glaze to set, then cut the bars into small squares.

Related post on The Runaway Spoon: Meyer Lemon Curd

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