Bright Flaky Lemon Bars
In most parts of the country, summer has begun! My friends are all graduating, people are taking summer trips to Spain and France and beyond, and I hear some are starting to soak up the sun. It seems like LA didn't get the memo. It's been colder and cloudy for the last two weeks. And I kinda like it. Any excuse to put on comfy socks and a sweater and I'm happy. I've even had to pull out my rain jacket for the occasional belated April showers!
While the weather hasn't taken a turn, I've still begun to incorporate a heftier sunscreen into my daily regimen and am starting to LOVE seeing all the summer fruits at the farmer's market. We've been getting nectarines, strawberries, and beets like crazy! You'd think our hands and teeth would be stained red by now. One fruit that we always seem to see year round is lemons. They're always available, but the time when they seem to be tastiest is during the summer. Summer is the time for lemonade stands, citrus-y pies, and bright summer salads! The scent of summer is making me thirst for bright lemony flavor in the form of sweet sweet concoctions, so I thought I'd whip up one of my favorite treats: lemon bars.
Lemon bars always seem to get me in a happy summery mood. I swear these things make you feel like you're the genius behind Momofuku Milk Bar, but they require little to no effort. They're the simplest dessert you can make (yah, even easier than chocolate chip cookies) and they satisfy most people's sweet tooth cravings. The secret is to use barely softened butter and fresh lemon juice to give it that buttery flaky crust and tart lemon-y custard.
Tart and Tasty Lemon Bars
Makes 1 pan of 24 lemon bars
For the crust
2 sticks butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
For the lemon-y topping
4 lemons juiced
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Soften your butter so it's just starting to melt on the outside, but it's still fairly firm. Or if you take it right from the fridge, you can nuke your 2 sticks for 10 seconds in the microwave, flip them and run another 10 seconds. Add sugar and flour and mix, forming a dough. I like to use my hands to break apart the butter pieces and incorporate it all together. Keeping the butter colder allows the crust to get flaky. Once combined, press into the bottom of a 9x13 baking sheet till nice and even. Bake for 15 minutes at 350' until light golden on the edges and just cooked through.
While the crust is in the oven, juice your lemons, add sugar, and whisk. Then add your 1/4 cup of flour to thicken slightly. Lastly, add your eggs, one at a time into the batter. This will make it a richer yellow color. Whisk the filling together until combined. Pour over baked crust and put in the oven for another 20-30 minutes. The top will bubble a little and form a powder-y solid looking top. Remove from oven and let cool.
To serve, I always like adding some powdered sugar to the top to make it look more festive. Slice, serve, and eat! If you make them right, the lemon-y top should be nice and tart and the crust should be buttery and flaky.