Classic Lemon Bars are a specialty of my youngest son. This is his favorite dessert and I am always happy when he decides to whip up a batch. But now he is at college and his recipe book is here at the ranch. It was time to post this family favorite online.
We have come up with a few tweaks for Classic Lemon Bars that make this a signature dessert in our home. Adding nuts to the crust is really an amazing upgrade. Hazelnuts have been the recent favorite, but I have also used pecans and walnuts.
Also, using a food processor for the crust works incredibly well. Once the nuts are added, simply pulse a few times so that the nuts retain some texture. Don’t try to pulverize them into a powder, although I have done that in the past and it’s fine.
Classic Lemon Bars can be Tricky
Don’t kid yourself – Classic Lemon Bars can be tricky – It took me 4 tries to get this recipe perfect. The eggs absolutely must be room temperature. Chilled eggs react differently in your filling than room temperature eggs. Cold eggs give your filling a less-than-optimum consistency.
Also, the lemon juice and lemon zest must be the last ingredients that you add to the filling mixture. Lemon juice can curdle the eggs, so whisk it into your filling, pour it into your cooled crust, and pop the pan in the oven to bake. Don’t let it sit! The jelly-like texture of the lemon filling is everyone’s favorite and that perfect texture is achieved by adding the lemon juice at the last minute. Don’t mix the filling together while you wait for the crust to cool. I did that and the resulting lemon bars were less than amazing.
Enjoy Our Family Recipe
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Classic Lemon Bars as much as we do. It really is one of our favorite recipes. But as much as I love sharing the recipe with you, I am really posting it for my son. Even though I love his visits, I want him to have his favorite recipe available whenever he needs it, wherever life leads him…Print
Classic Lemon Bars
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 16 bars 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
4 oz. butter (115g), cut into cubes
¼ cup sugar (50g)
1 cup all-purpose flour (125g)
½ cup hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts (75g)
4 eggs, room temperature
2 cups sugar (400g)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (82g)
1 ½ tbsp. lemon zest (9g)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (180ml)
Powdered sugar for garnish
Heat your oven to 350°F (176°C). Butter and flour a 9”x 9”(23cm x 23cm) baking pan.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and flour. Pulse until well combined, about 1 minute. Add the nuts, and pulse briefly until the nuts are just chopped.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Using your hands, press the mixture to form the crust. Make sure the crust is even throughout the pan. Place in the heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is lightly golden.
Remove the crust from the oven but leave the oven on. Allow the crust to cool for 20 minutes.
In a separate large bowl, whip together the eggs and sugar with a wire whisk until the mixture is lemon colored, about a minute. Add the flour, and whip until just combined, about 30 seconds. Whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice, about 30 seconds, and then pour into the prepared crust. Place the pan in the heated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center of the lemon bars no longer seems liquid. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Sift powdered sugar over the lemon bars and cut into portions.
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