Friday, May 6, 2011

The Best Lemon Bars

I love lemon bars, but I have found that not all lemon bars are created equal. I tried this recipe the last time I made them and I am so glad I did. In my opinion the perfect lemon bar keeps its shape, has a strong lemon flavor, but is not too tart. Not only does this recipe makes the best lemon bars but, it's not too difficult, and it makes a large pan so there's plenty to share.  Lemon bars are the perfect spring time treat!
This recipe comes from the big red Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.

Lemon Bars
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
3/4 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, about 3 lemons)
1/4 cup half and half, light cream, or whole milk
extra powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 dish. Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry blender. (I used a fork and knife. Not quite as effective, but it works.) Mix until you have coarse crumbs and press into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes or edges are golden.

Meanwhile, stir together the remaining ingredients minus the extra powdered sugar. Pour that filling over the hot crust. (It's important that the crust is hot because the crust will help to bake the underside of the filling.) Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the center is set. Cool completely before serving. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.
Press the crust into the bottom of the pan.
Once the crust bakes it will be slightly golden and it might have little holes from where the butter melted.
Whisk together the filling.
Be sure to use fresh lemons. It makes a difference!
Bake until the center is set. 
Once they are cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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