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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lemon Bars

I've always been a huge lemon bar (or square, whichever term you prefer) fan.  They remind me of when I was little and used to go to this one bakery in town with my mom.  I've been wanting to try out the Barefoot Contessa recipe for them for some time but had never gotten around to it.  Finally on Sunday, I realized I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and got to baking.  It's a really basic recipe, which is one of my major loves of Ina Garten.  So basic, so tasty.  
I shared them with my neighbors that night and took the rest to school the next day.  After lunch with the other teachers I still had several left and my students were begging me for them.  So at the end of the day I divided them all up so everyone could have a taste.  To quote my student Jennie: "This is what I would call gooooood baking!"

Lemon Bars
~The Barefoot Contessa cookbook

For the Crust:
1/2 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Filling:
6 extra large eggs, room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 grated lemon zest (from 4 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.  Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball.  Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2 inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2 inch edge on all sides.  Chill.

*Self tip-Line the pan with aluminum foil!  It makes it so much easier to remove them from the pan.  

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned.  Let cool on a wire rack.  Leave the oven on.  

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour.  Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set.  Let cool to room temperature.  

Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.


The Houghton's said...

You have seriously made me crave lemons. Yesterday I made Paula Deen's lemon meringue pie and I will be making these bars very soon. I have everything ready...just waiting for a day off.