Lemon bars

When life hands you lemons, add sugar and rejoice.

I don’t recall eating lemon bars before, but I do love lemon and figured this would be something I’d enjoy. It’s a beautiful spring day and to help my immune system get over my cold, I planned a citrus dessert for tonight’s meal. See? You can justify any baked treat if you try!

This recipe is from Betty Crocker Baking Basics – recipes and tips to bake with confidence, which is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.  If you like lemon tarts you’ll probably like this.

Time required: 2 hours

Yields: 25 pieces

Cost per slice: $1.08

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $27.00

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • lemon juicer
  • zester
  • electric beaters
  • baking pan: 8″ x 8″


  • 1 C flour
  • ½ C butter (1 stick), room temp
  • ¼ C icing sugar
  • 1 C granulated white sugar
  • 3 lemons (2 TBSP juice and 2 TSP grated peel)
  • ½ TSP baking powder
  • ¼ TSP salt
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 4 drops yellow food colouring (optional)

Step 1 – preheat oven to 176°C / 350°F.

Step 2 – in a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon to cream together: butter, flour, and icing sugar.

It will form a ball:

Step 3 – place dough into ungreased baking pan, press it flat with your hand.  (The book says that if the dough is sticky, to dip your fingers in water, but I didn’t notice a problem.)

Step 4 – bake 20 minutes.  Meanwhile…

Step 5 – in a mix master bowl, beat: granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, baking powder, salt, and eggs.  Add everything at once, and beat on High for 3-4 min until fluffy.

I wasn’t able to add lemon zest because the lemons were slightly overripe, which led to easy juicing, but difficulty in grating the peel.

Foolishly, I drank a little bit of the juice – sans sugar. Wow. Sour. But it smelled so good. Lemons can be deceiving. >.<  <— that’s the face I made.

(Hmm. It occurs to me that I didn’t beat it on High, just Medium, that explains a lot…oh well.)

Step 6 – as soon as crust is finished baking, pour liquid onto hot crust.

Step 7 – bake 25-30 min.  Test for doneness by lightly pressing down onto the top, when it’s done, the top will spring back up, but if it leaves an indentation it’s not done.

Step 8 – cool 1 hour (in pan).  See how it bubbled onto the pan?  I’m not sure why the recipe said to avoid greasing the pan. Oh snap. Why are the edges so dark?

Step 9  – cut into squares…

…and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Verdict: I liked this. In retrospect I’d remove it from the oven 2-3 minutes earlier. The edges are a bit crisp. The recipe said to add yellow food colouring but I skipped that, freshly squeezed lemon juice has lots of colour.

I brought this outside and we ate it on the patio, enjoying the beautiful spring evening. Boyfriend said it reminded him of short bread cookies filled with lemon. I suspect this will go nicely with tea.

Playlist: hard rock


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