Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meyer Lemon Bars

This year I was asked to bring dessert for the annual Easter feast. It took me days to decide what to make. I wanted something fun and spring-like. There would be kids there, so I didn't want anything too foofy or complicated. I mulled over the possibilities. Carrot cake? Strawberry shortcake? Rhubarb pie? Coconut Lime cupcakes? Oh, the dilemma. I debated so long that the day before Easter I still hadn't decided what to make. Fortunately while meandering through the produce aisle at the Co-op, inspiration suddenly struck in the form of a large pile of the most gorgeous Meyer lemons I'd ever seen. They were practically glowing as they called out to me, and there was no way I could pass them by. Lemon bars it would be.

I love lemon bars, and I can't imagine anyone who doesn't. They're fun, decadent and so pretty. Just like me, Heraldo.

The Ingredients:


2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
2 cups of flour
1/8 tsp. of salt


7 large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups of sugar (Meyer lemons are sweet. If these were regular lemons, I'd use 3 cups)
1 cup of freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
the zest of about 2 lemons
1 cup of flour

Powdered sugar to dust on top.

Aren't these beautiful? A cross between a lemon and a sweet orange, Meyer lemons are less acidic, more fragrant and sweeter than a regular lemon. I could go on and on about them. How they make an amazing limoncello. How great they are preserved and used in a Moroccan lamb tagine. How they make the most delicious lemonade ever, but I won't today. Today it's all about the bar. Alright. Stop staring at my lemons and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until it's light and fluffy.

Mix the flour and the salt together and, with the mixer on low speed, add them gradually to the creamed butter and sugar until just barely mixed.

Dump the dough into a prepared 9" x 13" pan and press it with your hands to cover the pan evenly. Build a little edge around the sides.

Bake the crust for about 20 minutes.

While it's baking you can make the filling. First squeeze the lemons. Supposedly if you roll a lemon around with your palm on the counter for awhile, more juice will come out. I don't know if this is true or not, and I'm always too impatient to try it. I use one of these handy metal fruit squeezer things over a strainer. You can also just use your hands. If you do, be sure to squint up your eyes and make Incredible Hulk sound effects while you're squeezing. These lemons were so juicy it only took three to get a cup of juice.

Then grate some zest from 2 lemons - more if you like a zestier taste - and add it to the juice.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest. Add the flour and continue mixing until it's well-combined. Check your crust. If it's a nice light brown color, take it out and set it on a wire rack.

Pour the filling over the crust and stick it back in the oven.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set and no longer jiggly. Let it cool on a wire rack.

Now see in the upper left hand corner of the above picture where I almost dropped the entire pan of lemon bars and stuck my thumb in while trying to catch it? If you happen to do something similar, don't you worry one little bit. Your bars will be just fine because you'll be covering them with a lovely coating of powdered sugar. And powdered sugar, much like the heavy makeup on an unshaven drag queen, will hide a variety of sins.

After the bars cool to room temperature, sprinkle on the powdered sugar and cut them into squares. Arrange them on a fancy plate and throw on some extra lemon slices to make the whole thing look pretty and to hopefully distract your family from the fact that you procrastinated so long that you made the lemon bars on the same day as the dinner and were in such a hurry that you took them out of the oven too soon and the filling didn't set up all the way and so they'll probably have to eat them with a spoon.

And by the way, they still taste divine with a spoon. Or smeared on an inner thigh.



mresquan said...

Mmmmm.....nothing lick munching on some inner thigh and having those bars for a nice desert.

Kristabel said...

Wait, are you talking about licking or munching? I'm so confused.

Kristabel said...



Kato said...

"They're fun, decadent and so pretty. Just like me, Heraldo."

You little tart!

Indie said...

Thank you, Kristabel!!! I never knew the name of those wonderful lemons that taste like they met an orange. I have had them straight off a tree before. I crave them! Now I will go to the Co-op and hopefully find some there still. Gorgeous bars!

humboldturtle said...

Extra lemons?

2 oz blended whiskey (I use JD)
juice of 1/2 lemons
1/2 tsp powdered sugar
1 cherry
1/2 slice lemon

Shake blended whiskey, juice of lemon, and powdered sugar with ice and strain into a whiskey sour glass. Decorate with the half-slice of lemon, top with the cherry, and serve.

Carol said...

Lemon Bars are Melissa's favorite dessert she prepares. So yummy!

Anonymous said...

Why aren't you writing the food column for the North Coast Journal instead of some of the bozos they've got. Won't Hank let you use words like foofy and jiggly?

Jennifer Savage said...

Oh my god, I love you, Kristabel.

Anonymous said...

I will have to look up my recipie for Lemon Bars that I got from England. In my memory (I haven't made them for quite a while) it seems pretty much the same but it is not for Meyer lemons (just the regular lemons). If I find it I will let Kristabel know if it is the same or not. It was always a favorite with everyone too.

Kristabel has the most delicious goodies posted. I have't tried making any of the marshmallows but I have copied and printed how to make them.

Summer is coming and they will be great toasted over an open fire on the beach with the sunset glowing in the background - I think you know the rest and if you don't maybe Kristabel can give you some tips . . . . . . .

Kristabel said...

Hee hee...Kato...I always love your comments.

I hope you found some Meyer lemons, Indie.

Turtle...yum, yum, yum! Thanks! Do you drink those in your hot tub?

Kristabel said...

Anonymous that one of those double-edged compliments?

Jen...the feeling's mutual. xo

Anonymous 5:27...I'd love to check out your recipe, and toasting homemade marshmallows over a bonfire at the beach is one of my favorite things to do (I'll bet you can guess what the other thing is.)

Anonymous said...

Since I had the pleasure of having one (okay 2 or 3) of these bars, I can say they were yummmmy! I am so glad that they are what you decided on.

humboldturtle said...

"Do you drink those in your hot tub?"

No, no. The hot tub is too big. I use a rocks glass.

Joel Mielke said...

Mmmmm. Foofy and jiggly.

By the way, Humboldt Turtle would make a great bartender (or drink consultant) at the next Blogger Picnic.

Heraldo said...

I confess -- Meyer lemons aren't my favorite. But I like inner thighs.

Indie said...

I stocked up on Meyer's lemons yesterday, Kristabel. I haven't decided yet what I will do with them, though...

I can attest to your recipes too, since I made your severed fingers and hairy knuckles for Halloween, and they were deelish.

Kristabel said...

Why...why...just when I've finally put away my sandwich filling CPR and Heraldo have to comment like that?

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