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Quite Possibly The Best Lemon Squares Ever

by on September 15, 2008 · 34 comments

I was hoping to go to Central Market this morning, but got bogged down with Monday chores and couldn’t leave the house. Luckily, I had all the ingredients for making what might be the best lemon squares ever…or at least that I’ve ever made.

For the original 13×9 inch pan recipe (and its source) click here. If you’d like to try a smaller version with some minor changes, try the version below. I used a little half & half which gave the squares a smoother texture. The other interesting elements of the recipe were the additional cornstarch in the crust and the level of lemon. I like things lemony and these were just right.

To sum it up, if I were to make a Top 10 list tomorrow, this recipe would be on it. That is, unless I find 10 superstar recipe between now and midnight.

Lemon Squares

Possibly The Best Ever Lemon Squares

Crust:
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (114 grams)
1/3 cup powdered sugar — plus extra for garnishing
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/8 teaspoon salt (just use ¼ tsp plus an extra pinch)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Filling:
2 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons half & half
1/8 teaspoon salt

Don’t preheat oven quite yet. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray

Pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in food processor. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until coarse. Pour what will seem like a very *dry* mixture into lined pan and press over pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. While it chills, you can make the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When oven is preheated, bake the pre-chilled crust (above) for 18-20 minutes or until edges are very lightly browned.

Filling: Lightly beat the eggs, sugar, and flour together in a bowl. I used a fork. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, half and half, and salt and mix well.

Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling again, then pour filling over the crust. Bake for 20 minutes or until filling no longer appears wet and shaky.

Set on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Lift from pan, place on cutting board, dust with extra powdered sugar and cut into bars.

Cut into a dozen squares

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Published on September 15, 2008

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina September 15, 2008 at 3:47 pm

They LOOK quite possibly like the best ever! ;) Sure wish sometimes we could try each other’s goodies instead of just look at them!

Therese B. September 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

Lemon!!! LOVE IT!! Anything with lemon….cookies, breads, bars…even cleaning products, which I have been doing TOO MUCH OF LATELY.

I should be baking instead of cleaning! You got it right sister!! Bake…don’t clean. In fact the clean police were just here….step away from the broom maam…drop the bucket now!
They finally talked me out of….cleaning under the stove!! tee hee!!

Remind me to tell you of the cooking experience I had with my sisters this weekend! You will never guess what we made??!!

Lori September 15, 2008 at 4:38 pm

OH…..lemon bars are among my top 5 favorite things in the whole world (husband and kids come before, but then it’s lemon bars, next on the list). I’ll have to make these asap. They look amazing.

VeggieGirl September 15, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Holy yum.

Cherie September 15, 2008 at 6:05 pm

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE lemon bars so these are on the list to try!

Cai September 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Do you need to use foil? Can I use baking paper instead? What is the purpose for the foil? We have a morning tea coming up tomorrow so I’ll be making these YUM! Thank you for sharing!

Rina September 15, 2008 at 7:53 pm

These look divine! I hate to kill the lemon theme, but do you think these would taste just as good with key lime juice instead? I have some that I need to use up from a batch of key lime cupcakes. Regardless, I can’t wait to make these!

Sarah September 15, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Oh my goodness, a must try for me right now :) Can I just say, you’re my baking savior at the moment? Lol, I’ve been so bored and a classic, promising recipe like this is just perfect:) Thank you so much, I love your site and commentary :P

Heidi September 15, 2008 at 8:19 pm

wow, the best ever, that is high praise indeed!

Sara September 15, 2008 at 9:09 pm

I love lemon bars, these look really good!

Daisy Doodles September 15, 2008 at 9:49 pm

These look pretty good! I will have to try them.
I took a lemon bars recipe and used the Blood Orange Juice that my company sells and I think it turned out well. I just really like citrus bars, period.

Patricia Scarpin September 16, 2008 at 6:15 am

My mouth is watering, Anna.

Shannon Kohn September 16, 2008 at 7:03 am

Thanks, Anna!

It’s pretty gloomy here in SC today and I was looking for a bright, sunny dessert to make for dinner tonight! I knew I could count on you, girl! :-)

Anna September 16, 2008 at 7:18 am

Katrina, me too.

Therese, my chores didn’t involve cleaning. It was more like paying bills, filling out forms and finding outfits for this job I have to do today.

Lori, since you seem to know your lemon bars, I’d love to hear what you think of these.

Heidi and Sarah, yes — I am not hesitant to say these are the best. Well, maybe I am since I used the term “possibly”, but they are the best I ever made.

Daisy, that’s an interesting idea! Did you use some orange zest as well? It seems like the bars would still need more acid. Or is blood orange juice very acidic? I’ve never tried it.

Patricia, thanks for stopping by! Good to hear from you.

Shannon, sorry it’s gloomy. Maybe the sun will come out a little later.

Erin Mylroie September 16, 2008 at 7:31 am

Oh, you know how I love your top 10. In fact, we made your apple bars from last fall’s top 10. I think those are my favorite recipe that I’ve even taken off your website. They are always a huge hit. Ok, the lemon bars are on the list now too.

Jilly September 16, 2008 at 9:18 am

Anna, you are my hero. I love lemon squares, but haven’t found them to be reliable for guests. They always taste good, but if they don’t cut cleanly and aren’t nice to serve….I consider them a bust and I avoid making them for special occasions or to take to a party. I’m going to try this recipe and see if it fits the bill. They look wonderful. FYI, I had a FABulous tiramisu experience this weekend (there are cookies in tiramisu, you know!) just looking for afficiando’s to critique. Thanks for the porthole into your world…I love Lizzie’s new nickname…the lizard!!! jb

clumbsycookie September 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm

If you say it I just have to believe it :)!

Daisy Doodles September 16, 2008 at 4:28 pm

Anna,
In the recipe I did I used 2/3 cup of Blood Orange Juice (our product is fresh squeezed from Italy). I didn’t add any zest at the time since the actual fruit wasn’t in season. Honestly, I didn’t think it needed it. It held up pretty well but I think in a month or so when the oranges are in season again I will try it with some zest. The juice I can get year round so that isn’t a problem.

giz September 16, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Oh yeah… just sign me up – these are gorgeous and I’m sure will make my top 10 too.

Beth September 16, 2008 at 10:37 pm

I love ANYTHING lemon, so I’ll just have to try these and let you know if these are, indeed, the best lemon squares in the world. They certainly *look* like they could be.

vicky November 26, 2008 at 2:08 pm

I saw this recipe yesterday and had the craving to make them so i did!! These bars are delicious!!! I really like the crust, and since im not a HUGE lemon fan, i think next time if I make the crust thicker and the filling just a little thinner, they will be perfect!! But they are delicious!! Im a huge fan of your blog!!! Thanks!!!

Carol A, November 28, 2008 at 10:18 pm

I just made these, too – brought them to a Thanksgiving gathering. I doubled the recipe and made them in a 9 1/2 x 11 pan, or whatever that size is. They disappeared quickly.

They really are delicious, and the crust has a nice firmness that makes them easy to handle. I LOVE lemon, so for me the lemoniness was fantastic. We have a lemon tree, so I got to use my own lemons – bonus!

Highly recommended! Thanks again, Anna!

Audrey December 14, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I just made these. I thought the crust was great but the filling wasn’t quite lemony enough for me. Also I like a greater filling to crust ratio. The best lemon squares I have ever made was from Fine Cooking. I guess they are actually lemon cheesecake squares, they have a creamy lemon cheesecake layer with a tart lemon curd layer on top, really a fantastic contrast.

Anna December 14, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Thanks for the review, Audrey.

Emmy December 28, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Wow I have yet to try these!

Your directions are so much more clear than recipes in other websites.

I’m definitely bookmarking this.

Thanks!

Jem January 3, 2009 at 11:44 pm

These really are the best lemon bites ever! i made them for a new years bbq and everyone raved. i am the biggest lover of lemon meringue pie and these tasted SO devine!

Anne January 20, 2010 at 10:15 pm

I made these last night as a birthday treat for one of my bosses. They were easy and delicious! I also made your Caramel Filled Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars for the party since the boss doesn’t like cake. People were raving about both bars. I know that when I make one of your recipes, I will never be disappointed. And neither are the recipients!

Sam Kathryn January 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Thanks for sharing a small batch recipe! Mine are still in the oven, but I can’t wait to taste them tonight :)

Tracy December 12, 2010 at 11:08 am

I buttered & floured a glass pan instead. Used a fork to blend butter into flour for the crust. Turned the heat up to 375*, then down to 350*. Used the same times & they were GREAT! Filling firm & shiny, textures just right. I’ll make these again, happily.

UrMomCooks August 22, 2011 at 12:41 pm

About to try these for my daughter’s bridal shower!!! Wish me luck!

Diane Zayas February 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Delicious! I have a lemon tree and boy has it been fruitful this year!
I wanted to use my lemons before it was too late for them. I used your recipe and it is delicious. I will adjust it the next time and use less powdered sugar so the filling is a little more lemony.

txgrandma May 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

It just so happens that I tasted the real thing at Central Market last week and my thoughts were that they were the best lemon squares I’ve ever tasted and I’ve tried many different versions. They are a favorite of mine. Thanks for this recipe! I’ll be trying it very soon.

Sue August 12, 2013 at 11:53 am

I made the 9×13 inch version and used half and half. They are excellent! Thanks for helping me choose a recipe. They were perfect for the party because they cut nicely and people could pick them up to eat them.

Sue August 12, 2013 at 11:54 am

I should have added that I used your “minor” changes too. :)

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