Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thick and Creamy Lemon Bars

Lemon bars are one of those quintessential bakesale treats. Available at just about every elementary school fundraiser, they never fail to please. While second graders will usually head straight to the colorful cupcakes and rice krispie treats, some of the older customers will be sensible and go to the lemon bars!
The problem with lemon bars is that they are often either too sour, from too much lemon juice, or much too sweet, with lots of unnecessary sugar. This recipe finds the perfect balance - the crust is crumbly and sweet, and the filling is tart but not overly so. It has lots of lemon zest, which creates a nice strong flavor.
The balance between the filling and crust in these bars is very nice. There is plenty of filling, but if you like a larger crust-to-filling ratio, feel free to reduce the lemon layer. If you ever are involved in a bake sale, be sure to take these; the people smart enough to choose them will thank you.
Enjoy! <3
Thick and Creamy Lemon Bars
(from Smitten Kitchen)

For the crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the lemon layer:
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
Cut into rectangles or squares (I did some of both) and dust with confectioners' sugar.