Perfect Lemon Bars

I have one lemon left on my Dwarf Meyer, so I was perusing Cook's Illustrated for a simple lemony dessert. I stumbled across these lemon bars that Kelly and I made last year. We couldn't remember where the recipe had come from, so I'm glad I found it! I don't have enough lemons to make these, but I wanted to share the recipe so we have it on hand, as well as encourage any lemon lover out there (no, I don't mean 30 Rock lovers, he he) to try these.


The Crust
1 3/4cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3cup confectioners' sugar , plus extra to decorate finished bars
1/4cup cornstarch
3/4teaspoon table salt
12tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
Lemon Filling
4large eggs , beaten lightly
1 1/3cups granulated sugar
3tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2teaspoons grated lemon zest from 2 large lemons
2/3cup lemon juice from 3 to 4 large lemons, strained
1/3cup whole milk
1/8teaspoon table salt


  1. 1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and line with one sheet parchment or wax paper. Dot paper with butter, then lay second sheet crosswise over it (see illustration 1, below).

  2. 2. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts. (To do this by hand, mix flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.) Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and, following illustration 2, press firmly 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.

  3. 3. For the filling: Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, and flour in medium bowl, then stir in lemon zest, juice, milk, and salt to blend well.

  4. 4. To finish the bars: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture to reblend; pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack; cool to near room temperature, at least 30 minutes. Following illustrations 3 and 4, below, transfer to cutting board, fold paper down, and cut into serving-size bars, wiping knife or pizza cutter clean between cuts, as necessary. Sieve confectioners’ sugar over bars, if desired.


  1. YES!!! I am so glad that you found these again.

  2. Thanks! Our tree has about 15 lemons that I need to use and this sounds wonderful :)

  3. Steph, I'm so jealous of all the lemons you got this year! Hopefully I'll get a better crop next year.

  4. can i just be jealous ya'll have lemons trees with fruit, let alone trees with leaves?! the bars sound delish...guess i'll head down to the STORE to get my lemons!! :)


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