Spring is officially here! I can’t think of a fruit more fitting to celebrate the change of the seasons than lemons. Like the early spring blooms, lemons with their delicious bright flavor are also a visual reminder of the warmer months ahead.
I love lemons and all citrus fruit. I always save their zest to use in cooking–I add it to soups and stews, seafood and pasta dishes, and of course, in baking. Lemons add a great balance to rich foods and their acidity enhances the flavors of otherwise bland food.
These easy lemon “dream” bars come together by preparing a simple, buttery shortbread crust and then pressing it onto the bottom of a lined pan. Then, a deliciously tart lemony mixture is poured over the baked shortbread and then baked again until the filling is set. Once cooled down, a light dusting of powder sugar is all that is needed just before serving. Perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea in the afternoon, these lemon dream bars are easy to transport and bring to spring picnics and other outdoors gatherings.
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 lrg. eggs
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 TBSP. lemon zest
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- --- --- powdered sugar (for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Line a 13”x9” pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper. Lightly grease the foil or the parchment paper.
- Place the flour, powdered sugar, cold butter and vanilla extract in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture just comes together but is still crumbly. Press the mixture onto the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or just until golden brown and baked through.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice until blended.
- Combine the ¼-cup of flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Whisk it into the egg mixture until blended. Pour the lemon mixture over the prepared crust.
- Bake on the middle oven rack for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the filling is set and firm. Let cool in a pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Lift from the pan onto a wire rack, using the foil or parchment paper sides as handles. Let cool for 30 minutes or until completely cool. Cut into 24 (2-inch) squares.
- Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar and place on a serving platter.
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