I made lemon bars once before, we all ate it, but no one really liked it that much, it’s just too tart for our tastes so I did not make it again ever. But then last week, when I cooked that sole meuniere, I really liked the fresh taste of the lemon with the fish and somehow it made me reconsider doing lemon bars again. I know it wouldn’t be a popular dessert (try googling it and see how many people are raving about it) for nothing, maybe I did not do it right the first time, so I decided I’ll give it another try using a different recipe and maybe tweak it just a little bit, like add less lemon juice than what is called for in the recipe and replace some of the flour with coconuts ( I love coconuts!) maybe we will appreciate it this time.
Our kitchen was filled by the wonderful scent of these lemon bars as it bakes. It tastes so good, it’s tart and sweet at the same time and the coconut added texture or a “bite” to it. We almost finished the whole pan, save for the 4 squares that I took pictures of. I saved it for the next day to give to my teenage sisters-in-law. I used (and tweaked ) Stephanie Jaworski’s (Joy of Baking) recipe, I chose it because it doesn’t have too much butter in it, some recipes called for a cup of butter which is way too much for me, I love butter but not that much. I am happy with this recipe because it turned out exactly as the picture in her website.
Here’s the original recipe with some changes:
*1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature ( I used salted)
1/4 cup (25 grams) confectioner’s (powdered or icing) sugar
*1 cup (140 grams) all purpose flour ( I replaced half of it with
1/2 cup dessicated unsweetened coconut )
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
*1/3 cup (80 ml) fresh lemon juice (approximately two large lemons) (I used only 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoons (5 grams) grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons (25 grams) all purpose flour
Confectioner’s (powdered or icing) sugar
Lemon Zest – The yellow outer rind of the lemon that contains the fruit’s flavor and perfume.
TIP: Always remove the zest first before halving and squeezing the lemon. Use a fine strainer to remove the seeds and pulp from the juice.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Grease with butter (or use a cooking spray) a 8 x 8 inch (20 x 28 cm) pan.
FOR CRUST: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat until the dough just comes together. Press into the bottom of your greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool while you make the filling.
FOR FILLING: In your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs until nice and smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest and stir to combine. Fold in the flour. Pour the filling over the shortbread crust and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
To serve: Cut into squares or triangles and dust with powdered sugar. These are best eaten the day they are made but can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two.
Yield: 16 – 2 inch (5 cm) squares
Note: The filling took longer than 20 minutes to bake, I used dark, coated pan)