As much as I love lemon bars, I've never made them before. Being under the shelter-in-home mandate (or is it stay-at-home?) is a great time to pull out those 'to-do' recipes and Ina Garten's Lemon Bars have been on that list a long time. Besides, it delays my plans to clean out my office and junk room (which isn't as much fun and has no tasty flavor).
I halved Ina's recipe because Bret doesn't enjoy lemon flavor like I do. Oh, and because it calls for 6 eggs and I don't want to use all my eggs up in case I can't get anymore.
Luckily, it's easy to half and came out nicely. There's a big lemon flavor and nice short-bready base. I didn't bake my crust long enough, but the bars are terrific anyway.
I didn't get very good photos because I'd already dug into the bars to "test" them. These lemon bars are tangier than sweet, but that's OK - they're still terrific. I've made Ina's lemon curd before and it's a little smoother and sweeter than this filling. Next time a couple of more tablespoons of sugar will go into these bars or maybe smaller lemons would help. I had huge lemons.
Have a favorite lemon bar recipe? Send it to me and I'll try it. I'd love to make the perfect lemon bars. Don't get me wrong - these are really good, but it'll be lots of fun (and tasty) to see if I can top them!
I'm posting the original Ina Garten's Lemon Bars recipe below. If you want to half it, use an 8x8" pan to bake them in.
- For the Crust:
- ½ lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- ½ C granulated sugar
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- For the Filling:
- 6 extra large eggs at room temperature
- 3 C granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
- 1 C freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9x13" pan with aluminum foil long enough to extend over the edges so you can pull out the bars after they're baked. Spray the aluminum foil with baking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, for the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light and blended. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour slowly to the butter until just mixed. It's going to be a fairly dry dough, but add a teaspoon of water if it doesn't come together.
- Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and bring together until it forms a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the prepared pan, building up the edges to about ½ inch. Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes until very lightly browned. Let the pan cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
- For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature then cut into squares or triangles and dust with powdered sugar.
Tips and Stuff:
I used salted butter in the crust and cut down the salt a little.
Note that she uses 6 extra-large eggs in this recipe. Since I halved it and only had large eggs, I used 4 large eggs.
I had large lemons, so it only took 3 lemons for the zest.
Please don't use bottled lemon juice for this - use the juice from the fresh lemons you just zested.
Mine took the entire 20 minutes for the crust to bake and the entire 35 minutes for them to bake. The filling should be set when baked with an ever so slight wiggle to the middle of the bars.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 bars
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 237Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 47mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g
Nutrition Values are Approximate