Friday, July 8, 2011

Lemon Bars (they're better than your SIL's)

Once upon a time, many years ago, I tried making lemon bars.  A recipe from one of my gazillions of cookbooks {I have a slight problem}.  Cookbooks truly are my favorite reading material.  It's kind of a sad story. 

Anyway, the recipe I tried just wasn't up to par.  They were dry and just blah.  Not one I would make again.

My sister-in-law, however makes lemon bars quite often and they are pretty darn good!  She's pretty proud of them, and she really ought to be. 

But as I was perusing my stash of Family Fun magazines a couple of weeks ago {another of my 'slight' problems, but that's another post for another day}, I came across this recipe for lemon bars.  It was the perfect treat for my girls' lemonade stand they are running each week.  I was getting tired of making the Confetti Squares and Dirt Cups

So, I whipped these up these bad boys and I am telling you, Anthony, being the one of us with more willpower, could not keep his hands off them.  Being that we're on a 'clean eating' diet, this is rare for him.  I, however, have a harder time.  This gets me thinking, why in the world are most of the recipes here unclean?  Are you wondering the same thing?  Good question.  One I'll answer... at some point. 

But I'm pretty sure these beat out my SIL's lemon bars... SHHHHH! don't tell her I said so.  All I know is that they could at the very least contend with her bars.   

Hmmm, nope!  I'm pretty sure they win!!! 

So, if you're looking for a great lemon bar recipe (who isn't, right?) this is it!  I'm sure you won't be disappointed.  And if you are, then you did something wrong ;)

The first thing you'll do is preheat your oven to 350*.  As it heats, you can make your cookie bar crust. 

You'll need to cream the butter, sugar and salt together with a wooden spoon. 

Then you'll stir in the oats.


Next, stir in the flour a little at a time (in thirds).  You may have to mix it with your hands with the last addition of flour....


..... until it resemble coarse crumbs, like so. 

At this point you'll sprinkle the cold water over it and briefly rub it into the mixture.  And now it should hold together when gently squeezed in your hand. 

Press the dough into the bottom of a 13x9 pan that has been buttered or sprayed with non-stick spray.  Press so that it is even and it raises slightly up the sides. 

Chill the pan for 15 minutes. 

Bake the crust in oven on center rack for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Cookie Bar Crust

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened but cool

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. oats, quick or old-fashioned

1 3/4 c. flour

1 T. cold water

Cream softened butter, sugar and salt with wooden spoon.  Add the oats, stir, add flour 1/3 at a time, stirring between each addition.  May have to use hands to get the last bit in.  Stir until it looks like coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle cold water over mixture and rub in briefly. 

Press the dough into the bottom of a buttered or sprayed 13x9 pan, going slightly up the sides of pan as well.  Chill the pan for 15 minutes. 

Bake pan on center rack for 15 minutes.  Cool completely on wire rack.

Once the crust is cooled, you can make your lemon filling (the good stuff!). 

Now, please don't hate me.  The day that I made these, I was in a mad rush to get them ready and cooled in time for our lemonade stand so I didn't get any pictures of the process from here on out.  The end product is the only one I have.  Good enough, right?  The next time I make them, I will be sure to take some pics of the process. 

You'll need to have your oven at 350* 

Lemon Bar Filling

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/3 c. flour

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 egg yolk

4 T. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. lemon juice, fresh or bottled

Zest of one whole lemon, finely grated

1/2 tsp. vanilla

powdered sugar

Whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, eggs, and egg yolk in large bowl until smooth.  Add butter and milk, whisk.  Stir in the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla until it's evenly blended. 

Pour the filling over the cooled cookie bar crust and tilt the pan from side to side, very gently, to get it all even.  Bake at 350* on center rack until filling is set and just starting to turn golden.  22-25 minutes. 

Cool on a wire rack.  Once they are almost completely cooled but still slightly warm, dust lightly with powdered sugar using a sieve or sifter.  Chill for at least one hour, dust again with  powdered sugar to your liking, and slice into bars. 


Camille said...

Oh. My. Goodness. These look divine! I am a sucker for anything lemon! And I was cracking up at your post- I also love to read cookbooks AND have a huge stack of Family Fun magazines! :) We have a lot in common. :) Thanks for linking this up to our link party last week . . . we would love to have you stop by today and link up more of your great projects at Strut Your Stuff Saturday!
Camille @

Ginger Snaps said...

Yum! Following from I Heart Naptime link party. Would love to have you link this up to my {wow me} wednesday link party going on right now over on my blog {if you haven‘t already!}. Hope to see you there. {ps I've got 5 kiddos, too!}


Mindy said...

Lol...I have a huge stash of cookbooks AAaaaaaND the family fun magazine. Too funny! I am waiting for your followup post about why these are unclean! ;-)