It’s been days and I still have Big Sur on my mind….I miss the mountains, the waves and the fresh Pacific air.
Unfortunately, during our short trip we didn’t get to stop at Nepenthe (rain/bladder/low-gas/time constraint) but these lemon bars are straight from their beautiful cookbook. They’re creamy and tart with a crumbly not-to-sweet shortbread crust that falls right apart in your mouth.
Yeah…they’re kinda addicting. And for some odd reason, they remind me of tea parties and lace doilies. I mean, what can I say? Sometimes even a crazy chocoholic like myself needs a little citrus lovin’.
It’s good for the waistline soul.
When I was little, my mom would make Krusteaz lemon bars (the box kind!) for special occasions and they were always my favorite after school snack. Never before have I attempted to make lemon bars from scratch because why would I? The Krusteaz mix was delicious and easy.
But, one sweet powdered sugared bite of these wooed me away from Krusteaz forever. These are for the serious lemon lover….or the chocoholic looking to branch out.
Like I said, these are for the serious lemon lover. But personally, I’ve never met anyone that doesn’t love a good old fashioned lemon bar and these take the cake.
But please, whatever you do, don’t buy bottled lemon juice! The taste is just off and it’ll pretty much ruin these completely. Juicing three lemons will only take you about thirty seconds…the same amount of time it takes to open the lemon juice, pour it into the measuring cup, put the top back on and stick it back in the fridge.
Trust me. I’m a professional.
There are two steps involved in making these. The first step is the crust, which is really just a quick and easy shortbread with cold butter, flour, confectioner’s sugar and a sprinkle of salt. You could mix in the food processor, but I always just cut the butter in by hand. I like the way it feels under my fingertips…plus, who wants to dirty another bowl?
After you have prepared the crust, you bake it and then you make the filling. Lemon juice, lemon zest, granulated sugar, eggs and a sprinkle of flour….it’s like making a delicious tangy lemon curd, but without tempering eggs and standing over the stove.
The squares bake up pretty quickly—in only about twenty minutes—but the hard part is letting them cool completely in the pan before slicing and dusting with powdered sugar.
People like me haaaaaaaate to let things “cool completely in the pan”. Thus, lemon bars are good for people like me. It teaches us patience and will power in trying situations.
Big Sur Lemon Bars
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 stick cold butter
for the lemon filling:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp lemon zest
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
additional confectioners sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350. To make the crust, combine the confectioners sugar, flour and sea salt in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter and work with your fingers until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Press into a greased nine inch pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
To make the filling, whisk together the granulated sugar and flour in a bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add the zest and the juice and mix until everything is smooth and combined. Pour filling over hot crust and return to oven to bake for another twenty minutes. When done, the filling will no longer jiggle. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing and dusting with powdered sugar.