Whole Lemon Bars – Updated!

These lemon bars are sweet, tart, and are made using an entire lemon!Whole Lemon Bars | A Nerd Cooks

I’ve made these lemon bars several times in the past.  They have variously been touted as “the best lemon bars I’ve ever had” and “on fleek”.

While I, personally, would probably not say “on fleek” in a non-ironic way, it is a pretty serious compliment.  And honestly, these lemon bars are pretty dang fantastic.Whole Lemon Bars | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. My original blog post for these bars can be found here.

You’ll need:

For the crust – 

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

For the lemon filling –

  • 1 Meyer lemon (or regular lemon)
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 8 tbs unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • powdered sugar, for dusting on top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and spray the paper with cooking spray.  Set aside.

To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Pulse a couple of times until things are combined.  Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is powdery. If you pinch the mixture, it should hold it’s shape.

Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared baking dish, allowing the crust to go about 1/2 an inch up the sides of the pan.  Poke it all over with a fork and bake for 20 minutes.

To make the filling, start by cutting the lemon in half.  If the white part of the skin is thick (i.e., 1/4 inch or more), you’ll want to peel the skin from half of the lemon before continuing.  Otherwise the filling might be too bitter.  The second half can be used as it is.  If the white pith isn’t too thick, just proceed to the next step without peeling anything.

Cut the lemon halves into thin slices, removing and disposing of any seeds you come across.  Put the lemon slices in the bowl of the food processor.  Add the sugar and run the food processor until the lemon is thoroughly puréed.  This will take about 2 minutes.  Then add the butter and run it again until the mixture is smooth.  Scrape the sides of the work bowl as needed.  Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt.  Pulse until well-combined.

Pour the lemon filling over the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes.  The bars are done when the filling jiggles only a little bit in the middle.

Let the pan cool completely on a rack.  Use a sharp knife to gently cut around the outside of the parchment paper to make sure nothing has stuck.  Use the parchment paper to transfer the lemon bars to a cutting board.  Cut it into 16 squares.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Store the bars in the fridge if not eating immediately.

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9 thoughts on “Whole Lemon Bars – Updated!

  1. Interesting. How does including the rind make this dessert better? I assume it would just give the filling a slightly firmer texture and make it taste more bitter.

  2. These look great! And if it’s a recipe from Deb, certainly has to be good. I do love the idea of adding the whole lemon, basically – any bitterness will probably be covered by the sweet sugar anyway I’d imagine!

  3. Pingback: Lemon White Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

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