Into Spring with Lemon Bars
A sure sign that spring is just around the corner is when the lemons on my tree are ripe and ready to pick. All winter long I’ve watched them grow from dark green golf balls into bright yellow fruit.
When my parents moved to Florida over thirty years ago, I inherited my dad’s lemon tree. It has produced two or three lemons every year and it has become a spring tradition to make lemon bars with the juice and zest from one of the sweet ripe lemons.
I made a batch this week and took them to church for coffee hour. It was a good sign that there weren’t any left. Here is the recipe I use, from a 1975 Better Homes & Gardens cookie cookbook my mom gave to me.
1 cup flour ¼ cup powdered sugar
½ cup butter 2 eggs
¾ cup sugar ½ teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder Powdered sugar
DIRECTIONS: Mix together 1 cup of flour and ¼ cup of powdered sugar. Dice cold butter into flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pat into an aluminum foil lined 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until slightly thick and smooth, about 10 minutes. Stir together 2 tablespoons of flour and baking powder. Add to egg mixture and blend until moistened. Pour over baked layer. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let cool completely before lifting bars from pan. Gently ease foil from around the edges. Cut into bars. Make sure the bars are done. If not, they will taste good but won’t hold together
A Couple of Notes: I always and I mean always, use butter when I bake. Margarine never measures up. If I’m going to take the time to bake and make a mess in the kitchen, I’m going to use the best ingredients when I do. Also, I’ve found that lemons are juicer at room temperature. Roll them firmly with your hand against a counter top to release more juice.