i first made lemon bars back when i was, oh, about 15ish. my mom and stepdad loved 'em (as did i), but i remember them being such a pain in the ass to make. the recipe i used called for cold butter, to be squished into a flour and sugar mixture using two forks until it was all blended and could be pressed into the bottom of a pain to form the crust. i seriously hated the process and hung up my lemon bar-making hat for good.
...or did i? dun dun dunnnnnn. well, obviously not, since i'm talking about it right now. although i hadn't thought of lemon bars in ages, until my friend diane (who's about to pop out a tiny human any minute now) happened to mention them on twitter one night.
and of course, i couldn't stop thinking about biting into a lovely, tart, buttery lemon bar for days after that. turns out that our friend courtney had made some for a GTG they had, and luckily all it took was one tweet and a "please?" to get her to share the recipe she used.
a couple more days slid by before i had the chance to get into the kitchen and whip up a batch...or actually, half a batch. the hub and the teen are determined to eat healthier and lose some poundage they'd gained over the holidays, and so i couldn't flaunt a big ol' pan full of lemony goodness right under their noses. it seemed less torturous to make, uh, 18 bars vs. 36. yeah. and the list of ingredients is so simple that i didn't even have to hit up the grocery store to get 'er done.
the best part about this version? it uses softened butter - which is about a gazillion times easier to mix into flour and sugar for the crust.
just a few minutes of labor and it was all ready to pop into the oven.
following courtney's tips, i left it to bake for a little longer until it was all pretty and golden brown.
mixing the lemon custard was super easy, and after about 20 minutes of baking, they were done. based on other reviewers, i used the original amount of fresh lemon juice called for (despite cutting the rest of the ingredients in half), and threw in the zest for good measure. after impatiently waiting for the pan to cool down, i sliced 'em up, sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top, and voila!
i was so happy to bite into that first bar. the crust was perfectly baked - not too, uh, crusty, and wonderfully buttery. the zest and extra lemon juice added just the right amount of pucker to counteract the sweetness, and mmmmmmm.
i'm pretty sure i ate most of the pan all by myself. and i finally devoured the last one just last night. i'm so sad. i may very well have to make another batch...like today.