When my husband and I were first dating in college, he invited me to a get together with all of his best friends and their wives/girlfriends. I was a little nervous because these were his best friends and I wanted them to like me. So what did I do? Well, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach so I decided I would make a treat to bring and share. Out of all the recipes I could have chosen, I chose one of my best tried and true desserts: lemon squares. It didn’t hurt that my then-boyfriend, soon-to-be-husband’s favorite desserts are anything lemon. I wasn’t going to take any chances. *wink*
Long story short, his friends all liked me and all the wives/girlfriends wanted my lemon squares recipe. Win-win!
Now, I know some people call this dessert lemon bars, but I grew up calling them lemon squares so that’s what we’re going with here. The recipe is super simple and absolutely delicious!
Here’s what you’ll need:
First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Then, grab a medium microwavable bowl and melt the butter. Add the flour and powdered sugar and mix until well combined and a dough forms.
Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil and then spray with cooking spray. The reason I do it this way is that it makes it easy to lift the bars out of the pan and cut them up before serving. You could skip this step, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Next, drop large spoonfuls of dough into the bottom of the pan and press it flat and even. Only spread it along the bottom and not the sides, but make sure to touch all sides and corners of the pan.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until edges are a very light brown.
*Side story: While I was making these lemon squares, the power went out about half way through the cooking time. Like, totally out, and I had no idea when it was going to come back on. Apparently it was out all over the south side of town. I was kind of mad because I didn’t want to have to start over. But then I decided to just leave the bottom layer in the oven and let it cook with the remaining heat inside. Thankfully, the power came on about 30 minutes after it had gone out and when I checked on the bottom layer, it looked just like it should. Success! I did a little happy dance in the kitchen with my daughter who had been extremely worried about the power going out.
Anyway, let’s continue.
While the bottom layer is cooking, combine the eggs, sugar, baking powder, lemon juice and 1/4 c. flour. When deciding how much lemon juice to put it, you have to decide how sweet or tart you want your bars to be. I like mine a little more on the tart side, so I usually add closer to 1/2 c. lemon juice, but if you want it a little sweeter, add 1/3 c. I wouldn’t recommend adding any more or less than 1/3-1/2 c. otherwise the consistency won’t be right.
Pour the mixture over the top of the layer you just pulled out of the oven and pop it back in for 20-25 minutes. You will know that it’s done when the edges are lightly browned. Pull it out and let it cool completely.
Once cool, you can sprinkle powdered sugar all over the top. I usually just sprinkle it from the bag, but you could also use a sifter.
Before cutting, remove the bars from the pan and gently peel the foil from the side of the bars. It can get a little bit sticky, so I just use a butter knife to help me keep the sides of the bars from being pulled away with the foil.
Also, I like to use a plastic butter knife when cutting the bars into squares because the bars are more likely to stick to the metal ones.
My last bit of advice before enjoying your lemon squares? Don’t breathe in through your mouth when you take a bite. *wink*
Makes 24 bars
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 c. butter, melted
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 2 c. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/3-1/2 c. lemon juice
- 1/4 c. flour
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium microwavable bowl, melt the butter. Add the flour and powdered sugar. Mix until combined and dough forms.
- Line a 9×13 pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Drop large spoonfuls of dough into the pan and press into the bottom of the pan using your hands. Do not press it up the sides but make sure it touches all sides and corners.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Edges should be just lightly brown.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- While base is baking, beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add sugar, baking powder, lemon juice and flour. (You can add more or less lemon juice depending on how tart or sweet you want the bars to be.)
- Pour over the base and bake again for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees F. The edges should be just lightly brown.
- Remove bars from the oven and let cool completely.
- When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar over the top, cut and serve.