When I was a kid, I thought people actually ate lemons instead of just using them as a garnish or for the zest/juice. I thought they were just like oranges, so whenever we went out to restaurants, I would eat the lemon wedge that came with my glass of water. I eventually stopped doing that, but my love for all things sour ended up manifesting in other ways – in elementary school, we had Warhead eating contests and if I can brag for a moment, I was the reigning champion.

Lemon Bars

From Ina Garten

Crust

  • 1  cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Filling

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan.
  2. To make the crust, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the flour, salt, and ginger, and mix until just combined. Pat the dough down into your baking pan, then transfer the pan to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until it’s just barely golden brown. Let cool and leave the oven on.
  4. To make the filling, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Mix until there are no clumps of flour (an immersion blender is best for this). Pour over the crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling is set.
  5. Let cool to room temperature, then cut into squares. Store in fridge, and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

Lemon bars have always been one of my favorite treats, not just because I love lemons, but because there’s something truly magical about the combination of a buttery shortbread and tart lemon filling. Especially now, in what seems like a never-ending winter, these bars have an incredibly bright flavor to really wake up your tastebuds.

For an extra bit of flavor, I added some ground ginger to the crust – it was a bit too mild for my liking, so next time I make these, I’ll probably add some grated fresh ginger and possibly some diced candied ginger as well. Ginger and lemon go together so naturally, so the combination really can’t be beat. The powdered sugar on top might be overkill, but if you’re not as fond of mouth-puckeringly sour treats like I am, it definitely helps cut the tartness from the lemons.

These are really best enjoyed at room temperature, once the filling gets a chance to firm up. The texture is something in between jello and pudding, with a nice softness, but no jiggle. That sounds like something out of one of those women’s magazines – TEN WAYS TO TONE UP YOUR BODY TO GIVE IT A CURVY SOFTNESS BUT NO JIGGLE. No thanks, Cosmo. I’d rather eat a plate of these.

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