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Monday, December 20, 2010

Lemon Bars


I went to one of my local thrift stores this month and everything in the entire store was 50% off.  I immediately went to the cookbooks. I picked up two old Cook's Illustrated magazines for $.12 each.  What a deal!
 One of the recipes in one of the magazines particularly caught my eye.  It was called "The Best Lemon Bars."  Lemon bars have long been one of my favorite desserts.  The buttery crust, the tart filling...it all goes so well together in this popular dessert.  I had to try this recipe and see if it really was "the Best."

 Luckily, I had to bring a dessert to a Christmas party.  It was the perfect excuse to make these bars and see how popular they would be.  The recipe differed from my usual Lemon bars in that there is cornstarch in the crust and whole milk in the filling.  The filling was really creamy and lemony.

 The crust was a perfect shortbread; thick and buttery.  I believe this is indeed the best Lemon bar recipe I have tried.  It is worth giving it a shot to see if it stands up to your own favorite recipe for these bars.
The Best Lemon Bars: (slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated):
crust
1 3/4 cups AP flour
2/3 cups sifted powdered sugar (mine clumps so I always have to sift it...don't if yours isn't clumpy)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
filling
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 Tbsp flour
zest from 2 lemons
juice from 4 lemons
1/3 cup half and half
1/4 tsp salt
For the crust: Line a 9X13 pan with parchment or foil up all four sides.  Pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in food processor.  Add butter and pulse until mix like coarse meal.  Press into the bottom of the lined pan and refrigerate 30 minutes.  Afterward, bake 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
For the filling: Whisk eggs, sugar and flour in a medium bowl, then stir in zest, juice, milk and salt.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Stir filling mixture to reblend and then pour onto warm crust.  Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly; about 20 minutes.  Cool in pan 30 minutes.  Remove bars from pan by lifting foil or parchment.  Peel back foil and cut into serving sized bars.  Dust with powdered sugar.

35 comments:

Michael Toa said...

That's a very good deal for the books. I cannot wait for Boxing Day here in the UK for all the sales. First stop for me will be the book store.
I love anything lemon. These lemon bars look so creamy, rich and delicious.

Belinda said...

Nice deal! I would love it if you brought these to my house.

Bev said...

I think it's fun to check out the cookbooks at thrift stores too. You often find books that were popular a few years back that have now fallen off the radar, but are still filled with good recipes (like those lemon bars!)

gingerbreadcake said...

Mmm your lemon bars look perfect! Your description of them had me drooling. Lemon bars are one of my favorite desserts and my mama's. She's always begging me to make some for her. I can't tell you enough how happy I am that you posted this recipe, she's going to be very happy. :)

boulderlocavore said...

These look delicious and a nice break from common, repetitive flavors at this time of year. May have to 'shake it up' and leave Santa a more tropical treat this year! Don't you love those great thrift store finds?!

Elisabeth said...

Cook's Illustrated is like a "bible" of magazines, and they cost around $4.99 if I'm not mistaken. Love that magazine.
So glad your found the lemon bars recipe. It looks absolutely yummy, and perfect. I copied and printed out the recipe. Love it!
Thanks so much for sharing!

Magic of Spice said...

I love lemon bars, and these do look extra creamy :) Lovely recipe...
And great place to find cookbooks and older magazines :)

katerina said...

You have such great discounts there. And you can buy things at an extremely good bargain. My husband loves lemony sweets and these look super creamy. I will give them a try for sure.

Sadik Ali said...

I've been thinking of making lemon bar recently. Your version looks so simple and delicious. I definitely need to try this :)
Tes
http://tesathome.com

Indie.Tea said...

That's a great deal. And the lemon bars look delicious.

briarrose said...

Yummy. I love citrus in the winter...such a fresh flavor. These look just delicious.

Lisa said...

OMG, yum! I'm craving these so bad now!!

Life Goes On said...

Those look fantastic. I wish I had been at the party.

ravienomnoms said...

These look really amazing, I always enjoy lemon.

thespicegarden said...

I, too, love a good bargain and find lots of wonderful kitchen ware and cook books at the local consignmment stores and flea markets! I am always amazed at the deals! Looks like you got a really great addition to your recipe files ... the lemon bars look so creamy smooth. Perfect ... and delicious!

Christina said...

I love lemon bars and these look amazing!

21st Century Housewife© said...

I like the sound of these! Lemon is always so refreshing - these would be great all year round, but especially at Christmas :) Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

We love lemon bars! :) Our pastor goes ga-ga for them, so we like to bake him some every once in a while, too.

Have a merry CHRISTmas!
Sherry

Angie said...

My significant other is standing over my shoulder saying, "MMMM...make it, make it, make it." Guess I'll have to give these a try.

Angie's Recipes said...

These lemon bars look to die for! Love the gooey center!

Country Gal said...

Don't you love a good deal - especially if they taste that good!

alessandra said...

Ahhhhh, love them!!!!

katie said...

Love lemon bars! Thanks for sharing.

K o r i said...

What a steal to get such cheap magazines...love it! And I love the looks of this recipe. I had forgotten about lemon bars, but now my mouth is watering, so I'll have to bake some soon :) Thanks for sharing your recipe! Merry Christmas!!!

Carolyn said...

Cook's Illustrated sometimes cracks me up, the way they search for the "best" of every recipe. Sometimes they nail it, a few times they don't (or not to my taste, anyway). But these do look like remarkably good lemon bars!

Kim Kelly said...

I adore lemon bars, but alas, I have not had good luck making them. Mine have always turned out like eggs with lemon flavoring, not too appetizing. These looks promising though and I'm thinking I'm up for another try! Nice find at the store... I hadn't thought of that!

Evan B said...

You always hope that the recipe with "Best" in the title is going to be delicious and looks like you found a winner :) I love lemon squares.. the tartness gets me every time! I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Sue said...

Nothing like a sale at the thrift store! These sure DO look like THE BEST lemon bars! I will definitely have to give these a try...after Christmas:) Thanks for the recipe, Kristen!

Pam said...

Good deal! Great lemon bar recipe to try! I've never seen one with half and half and that definitely has to make it creamy good. Thanks for the recipe!

Katie @ This Chick Cooks said...

Those lemon bars look heavenly. You're making me hungry!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

YUM. Lemon Bars are my favorite. Yours look so delicious. Great photos. I am going to have to try to make them with your recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Best,
Gloria

Felice said...

Lemon Bars are my favorite and these look delicious.

Amanda said...

Oh I love this recipe! I will be trying this out as soon as possible! I added your button to my page! I want my friends to see how great your page is! Come visit me! http://bluejeanfoodiequeen.blogspot.com/

Merry Christmas! And thanks for sharing! Love your page!

Cook With Susan said...

This looks like an amazing lemon bar recipe. The addition of half & half is something that I never thought to do. I am going to make them as soon as I post this comment. I look forward to reading your post.

Eftychia said...

These lemon bars look delicious. I will save this recipe in my favorite list. It really looks delicious.

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