It's hard finding a lemon bar recipe that has just the right balance of sugary sweetness and lemony flavor without being too sour or sickening sweet. I got this lemon bar recipe from a good friend and have been using it ever since. I think the best part is actually the shortbread crust, which holds up its buttery cookie texture while cradling the lemon custard filling. Out of curiosity I sprinkled a layer of shredded coconut on top before baking. What resulted was a nice toasty, chewy coconut layer added to a well-balanced lemony treat!
Makes 16 pieces
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded coconut, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8"x8" square pan along the bottom and up all 4 sides with foil or parchment paper.
- Crust: Cut butter into chunks and melt in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix until just incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25-30 min, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in the center.
- Filling: While the crust is baking, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. When the crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300 F and slide the rack out without removing the pan. Pour the filling over the hot crust. If using, sprinkle shredded coconut evenly over the top.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the topping is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when the pan is tapped. Set on a rack to cool completely in the pan.
- Lift the ends of the foil or parchment liner and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into sixteen 2-inch bars. May be stored, airtight, in the fridge. Lemon bars keep well for about 3 days; after 3 days the crust softens but the bars still taste quite good for the remainder of a week.