Last week as I was browsing some of my favorite food blogs, I came across this post for lemon shortbread bars from La Fuji Mama. Then I discovered this lemon bar post by Smitten Kitchen. You see, I have a thing for lemon bars. You may have guessed that.
So, after a tough week, I thought making a nice batch of these tart but sweet treats might lift my spirits and brighten the weekend.
I wanted to use Meyer lemons, but my impatience got the better of me. I sent my husband to the closest grocery store to see what he could find, and regular ol’ lemons it was. No Meyers.
I used a blend of recipes for these lemon bars. I slightly modified La Fuji Mama’s recipe for the shortbread crust by adding a half teaspoon of Kosher salt. For the filling, I used this recipe from Gourmet magazine, but I added a teaspoon of lemon zest and half teaspoon of good vanilla.
I loved the thickness of the shortbread. The ratio of lemon filling to shortbread was essentially one to one, and this helped cut down on the tartness of the lemon in each bite. The best thing? Watching my family devour them. It worked — my spirits were lifted.
Lemon Shortbread Bars
Ingredients for Shortbread Base:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cup confectioner's sugar (plus 3 tbsp for dusting the top of the bars)
1-1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Ingredients for Lemon Filling:
4 large eggs
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon good vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking dish.
Make the shortbread base: Using a food processor, combine the flour, confectioner's sugar, butter, and salt. Pat dough into greased baking dish. Bake for 18-20 minutes (crust will be slightly golden-colored).
While shortbread base is baking, make the lemon filling: Whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until combined well. Stir in lemon juice, flour, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Pour lemon filling into baking dish, over the hot shortbread filling. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until filling is set.
Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Sift confectioner's sugar over bars prior to serving.