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Friday, January 27, 2006

Lemony Goodness

I've used my new rectangular springform pan (from King Arthur Flour) twice already to make lemon bars. I'm always on the search for a better lemon bar, and Alison from Bake Sale Betty told me that her stunningly good ones were based on a recipe of Alice Medrich, in the book "Cookies and Brownies". The book seems to be OP, but I had given my mother a copy of it a while back - it's the source of Robert's Chocolate Cookies - and got the recipe when I was up there. These are great and very, very easy to make because of the way the crust is constructed. I cut the sugar back last time because I had Meyers and they are sweeter.

Alice Medrich's Lemon Bars

Makes an 8" square pan. I usually double it for 13" by 9".

Line an 8" square pan with foil and preheat the oven to 350 F.


8 TBS unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teasp vanilla
1/8 teasp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour


1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar (you may want to start with 1 cup, or less if you have Meyers)
3 TBS all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teasp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup strained lemon juice

note on zesting: I just add all the zest from the lemons I juice. I zest them into the sugar used for the filling and then halve and juice the lemons. If you are zest-free (I'm thinking ahead to when I make limoncello), you can try a little lemon oil.

Powdered sugar for dusting

Melt butter in a suitable container (I use my 8 cup Pyrex). If you use the stove, use a medium saucepan and medium heat. Remove from heat and add sugar, vanilla, and salt and stir well. Add the flour and mix till just incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake 25-30 min, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in the center.

Make the topping while the crust bakes: 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, lower the oven to 300 F and slide the rack out without removing the pan. Pour the filling over the hot crust.

Bake 20-25 minutes, till the topping is puffed at the edges and the center no longer jiggles when pan is tapped.

Set on a rack to cool completely. Lift ends of the foil liner (or carefully use a spatula around the edges of your springform), and cut into bars. A plastic knife like KAF sells is great. Store, airtight, in the fridge. Sift powdered sugar over bars before serving.

Oh man those sound scrumptious! I absolutely love lemon bars (and lemon icebox pie, and... :)
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