Ultimate Lemon Squares

January 19, 2021

Ultimate Lemon Squares

What happens when you have a lemon squares recipe that you love and your husband comes home from a boys’ snowboarding trip and says you have to make these lemon bars they are amazing?  You have a lemon bar recipe off.

I baked both recipes which were only very slightly different multiple times (and multiple different pans – glass vs metal) and had my family and friends taste them and let me know which they liked better and why.

Which one was the winner – turns out they both were in their own way.  The final version of the recipe is an amalgamation of both of the recipes.  I took the cooking time/temperature from one and adding baking powder to the lemon layer from the other.  I also tried greasing the pan vs not greasing and found that the lemon layer sticks to the sides of the pan – greasing just the sides helped get the bars out of the ban easily. 

So grab yourself a 13″ x 9″ pan and bake a double batch of lemon squares.  They won’t last long. 

Ultimate Lemon Squares

The ultimate combination of buttery shortbread and lemony top layer make these high requested and quick to disappear.
Course Dessert, bars

Ingredients

Crust

  • ½ cup butter or margarine, slightly softened (1 stick, 4 oz)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (4.25 oz)
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar (1 oz)

Topping

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (7 oz)
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons) See note on zest below
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (1.5 oz)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Instructions

  • See note on pan size below - Heat oven to 350 °F for a glass baking dish or a light-colored metal pan. If using a dark metal pan reduce oven temperature to 325 °F. Grease the inside sides of the pan. It is not necessary to grease the bottom of the pan.
  • With an electric mixer or a hand-held pastry cutter, mix together the butter, flour, and powdered sugar until it looks like coarse crumbs. You don't want to make this into a dough, but the butter pieces should be small. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the edges are just beginning to turn golden.
  • While the crust is baking, whisk together all of the topping ingredients.
  • Once the edges of the crust are barely golden brown, pull out the crust and pour the lemon topping over the warm crust. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking for another 25 minutes until the topping is set and beginning to lightly brown.
  • Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle the top liberally with powdered sugar. Cut into pieces (a bench knife works really well to cut these). Store in an airtight container if they last more than an hour once cool.

Notes

For the lemon zest, use a microplane grater to zest just the yellow layer of the lemon peel. You do not want any of the white pith under the outer peel. 
This recipe as written is for a 9 x 9 or an 8 x 8 inch square pan.  Cooking times will be slightly faster, and the bars will be thinner with the 9 x 9 size pan.
This recipe doubles well to be cooked in a 9 x 13 inch pan.  The cooking times should stay the same. 

 


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