I spend a majority of my time with fellow twenty-something artists. We have interesting conversations, go see the wonderful cultural offerings in the city, and offer moral support when we feel creatively blocked. We are also frequently strapped for cash. For this reason, we tend to give each other edible gifts, rather than dishing out precious dough for a nice store bought present.
A good friend got a group together for birthday drinks the other night. I didn’t want to arrive empty handed, so I decided to bake her a little something. I ended up making some zesty lemon bars, per her request.
Shockingly, I had never made lemon bars before! I once made lemon bars from a mix that Mom had, but I don’t count them. This recipe was really simple, and the result is delicious! The only adjustment I made was adding a bit of whole wheat flour to the crust, which, honestly was because I ran out of all-purpose flour. I recommend the change, though.
Recipe from The New Cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens
Makes 20 bar cookies
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds. Add the 1/4 cup of sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in the flour until mixture is crumbly. Press into a 8x8x2in baking dish, smoothing with the back of a spoon. Bake until golden, 15-18 minutes.
While the crust is baking, combine eggs, sugar, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, and baking powder. Beat until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes.
Pour filling mixture over hot baked layer and return to oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges and set in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over the top, if desired. Cut into 20 bars.
While digging out my apron, I also come across a package of doilies. I was so excited to be able to present my bars on something prettier than just a tupperware container! I’m trying not to read into the fact that I had doilies lying around… What a little housewife (minus the whole husband thing)!
The bars were quite a hit. We were also lucky enough to have a batch of brownies, provided by another friend. We were that super cool group with homemade goods at the bar. We got a few dirty looks, but I prefer to think people were just jealous.
I’ll need to remember these next time I feel like baking, but don’t want chocolate (it happens once in a blue moon). They were smooth, sweet, and tangy! Yum!