Monday, March 23, 2009

Perfect Lemon Bars

There are so many wonderful dessert recipes available that you have endless possibilities to make a delicious ending to any meal. There are times, however, when the dessert you are craving is a simply a reliable standard. Not the newest. Not the most elaborate. Not the Rachael Ray favorite. Just a simple, no fuss, tried-and-true favorite. That is this recipe. It's name is not a misnomer; it honestly produces perfect lemon bars--not only in appearance, but also in taste!


1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra to decorate finished bars
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

Lemon Filling
4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/3 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon table salt


1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 9 x 13 baking dish and line with one sheet of parchment or wax paper. Cover wax paper with cooking spray, then lay second sheet crosswise over it.

***Note***I ran out of wax paper. I had enough for the first layer, then needed to use aluminum foil for the second. You are using the two layers to lift the baked lemon bars out of the pan for cutting, so whether it is wax paper or aluminum foil, it shouldn't really matter.

2. Pulse flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8-10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. Before...


3. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan, and press firmly down with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/2-inch up sides. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Before....

4. For the filling: Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, milk, and salt to blend well. The filling needs to be added to a warm crust. The 30-minute chilling plus 20 minute baking of the crust should allow plenty of time to prepare the filling. If not, make the first first and stir to blend just prior to pouring it onto the crust.

5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour over warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Transfer to cutting board by grasping the edges of the lengthwise paper and lifting the bars.

6. Gently fold down wax paper (or aluminum foil) and cut into serving-size bars. To do so, use a pizza cutter. Notice that the pizza cutter gets caked with the lemon filling during cutting.

***Note***The key to a clean cut is removing all of the gunky accumulation on the pizza cutter between each cut.

7. Sieve confectioners' sugar over bars....

....and then enjoy! Look at how good the bars look when you use a pizza cutter!

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Yields: 24 bars (Serving Size: 1 bar) 164 Calories; Total Fat 6.8g; Saturated Fat 4.0g; Cholesterol 51mg; Sodium 139mg; Total Carbohydrates 24.2g; Sugars 14.8g; Protein 2.3g


Anonymous said...

Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

Anonymous said...

Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

Anonymous said...

This is the best thing ever!! I live in FLorida where it is hot and humid....I have no air

conditioning in my car so I have to drive with the windows down...I have very curly, thick, and out of control hair...with all these elements it is hard to find something to make my hair stay straight. This

worked...I drove on the highway with my windows down in nice hot humid weather and it is still as perfect as when I straightened it 2 days ago!! Buy this product it is worth the money!!!

Anonymous said...

I have to say this stuff dries and holds the curls in place for great curl

definition. I dont like that my curls were rather dry though. I'd say you must must must use the oil or some sort of moisturizer w/this product if you have thick (curly hair: type 3C) hair like mine.

Anonymous said...

I have naturally curly hair that can sometimes get very frizzy and look disastrous! Very few products show lasting results, but this is one of them.

MoroccanOil makes my hair looks less frizzy and feels softer to the touch. This definitely helps tame my mane!