Lemon bars are, to me, the homecoming queen of baked goods. They are pretty without being plastic, have wholesome girl-next-door appeal, and though they may not have the wow-factor of a beauty pageant winner like lemon meringue pie, they are a HECK of a lot easier to pick up.
Oh, SO PRETTY! Cupcakes and Cashmere beat me to the punch on this one, but I’ve been craving some lemon-bar love for weeks now and finally managed to get my citrus on last weekend. I thought about trying Ina Garten’s recipe:
But the ratio of custard to shortbuttery crust is off. Too gooey. This awesome recipe blogger kitchen-tested and came up with a more balanced version, you can find it here. (It’s the ‘thinner lemon layer’ version. And her advice to grease the pan — PRICELESS.)
My mom supplied our family favorite, Marge Peterson’s lemon bars. (Marge was our across-the-street neighbor in Richland and once tattled on me for flashing the neighbors from our front window, something I was doing deliberately to rile her up. Why I would want to ‘titillate’ a nice septuagenarian is beyond me — but Marge, for the lemon bars and for saving me from some deranged pervert, I humbly thank you.)
The Smitten Kitchen recipe was perfection but I want to share Marge’s recipe too, so here it is! Either way, the cheerful, congenial queen of the baked-goods parade is ready and waiting to grace your 4th of July picnic table with sweet/tart, lemony love.
Marge Peterson’s Lemon Bars
2 c flour
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 c butter (my mom & I use salted butter)
Mix and press into a 9×13 Pyrex baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min. Allow to cool to room temperature.
4 eggs, slightly beaten
2 c sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
Mix well and pour over crust. Bake again for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Dust with powdered sugar, cut while a little warm. Can be made ahead and will freeze. Use butter not margarine for best texture and flavor.