Luscious Lemon Squares for my Valentine

February 14, 2012

So, today is Valentine’s Day. And I know for a lot of folks, Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be complete without chocolate…lots of chocolate. Now, Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate, but for me it’s all about cupcakes (hint, hint, hint!) I would really like some cupcakes right about now!

Perhaps one (or two, or so...) like this....

However, I wasn’t trying to make Valentine’s Day goodies for me. I was making something for my sweetie. That being said, some folks might consider my fellow’s dessert cravings a bit odd. He will walk right  by most chocolate confections with no more than a passing glance. ( What in the world?!!) However, any fruit dessert will undoubtedly catch his eye from a country mile away. And one of his favourite of all fruit desserts is the elusive lemon bar. I say elusive because I have tried on several occasions to make these little devils and had never gotten it quite right. I either didn’t like the soggy crust, or the filling was too sweet or too tart or the wrong consistency all together! You can imagine how happy I was when I saw that one of my all-time favourite blogs, Once Upon a Chef, had a Lemon Square recipe posted. I have made many of the recipes that Jenn has posted on her fantastic, tried and true blog and have never been disappointed. Everything has turned out incredibly tasty. So, what was left to do but make these Luscious Lemon Squares. And luscious is exactly what they were.

The crust was amazing, a crisp buttery shortbread that was well able to stand up to the delicious filling which was just the right ratio of tart to sweet. They were beautifully topped with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar. I am not even a lemon dessert fan and I couldn’t resist eating them. My sweetie was dazzled both with the dessert and my baking prowess. So if you happen to have one of those chocolate indifferent Valentines (again…What the what!), give these luscious little treats a try. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Luscious Lemon Bars

recipe from Once Upon a Chef

yield: 16 – 2″ squares


For the crust:

  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup corn starch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar (plus more to decorate finished bars)
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into ½-inch pieces

For Lemon Topping:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (you’ll need between 2 and 3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 lemon, be sure to zest before juicing)
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour


Make the Crust

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cover a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Push foil neatly into corners and up sides of the pan, using two pieces if necessary to ensure that foil overlaps all edges (the overhang will help removal from pan). Spray foiled pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the flour, corn starch, salt and confectioners’ sugar in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and mix for a few seconds. Add the butter and mix to blend, until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Sprinkle mixture into prepared pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire bottom, building up a thin ½-inch edge around the sides (this keeps filling from spilling beneath crust). Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Bake the crust until lightly golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Make the Topping

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and flour.

As soon as the base is baked, give lemon mixture a quick final stir and then pour over top. Immediately return the pan to the oven and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until the topping is set and firm. Let cool on a rack to room temperature, or at least 30 minutes, then cover and chill in refrigerator until ready to cut (it will be much easier to cut when cold).

To cut, use the foil overhang to lift baked square out of pan and onto cutting board. Loosen the foil from the edges of the crust (use a knife to separate crust and foil if necessary). Using a sharp knife, trim the edges off, then cut into 2-inch squares. Use a fine sieve to dust squares with confectioners’ sugar. Store finished lemon squares covered in refrigerator and serve chilled.


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