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Lemon Chess Bars

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Lemon bars are delightful, but we love this recipe because it puts a little twist on a conventional lemon bar. Each bite is sandwiched between a layer of crust that offers a nice contrast of texture with the creamy lemon filling. While you can bake the crust prior to baking the whole pie, we sometimes skip the pre-baked crust for two reasons: we like a good shortcut when baking, and because patience is hard to come by with this sweet confection!

We love a good lemon bar, but this lemon chess recipe offers a few variations on the conventional lemon bar experience; lemon chess calls for the addition of egg yolks, buttermilk, and finishes baking with a golden brown top crust. Now, sometimes we like to serve this as a pie when we’re looking for something a little fancier, but for less formal occasions we switch the pie plate for the baking dish and cut these into squares. Really, though, there’s no hard-and-fast rule to serving this dessert, but we like to dust a little powdered sugar at the end for a little extra sweetness. Whether for a social event or for the sake of having a treat at home, go ahead and pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and grab a square (or two!) of this lemony delight.

Lemon Chess Bars

2 hours + cooling time to prepare serves 8-10

Ingredients

  • Crust:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into chunks
  • 1 ¼ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3-5 tablespoons ice water
  • Filling:
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
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Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange rack to lowest level. Line a 9x9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease with butter or nonstick spray.
  2. In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and butter, and pulse until dough forms pea-sized chunks. Slowly add ice water in 1 tablespoon increments, pulsing until dough comes together.
  3. Place dough in lined baking dish and press dough evenly out to sides.
  4. For the filling, whisk dry ingredients (flour, sugar, and salt) together and stir until combined. Whisk in egg yolks, whole eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest, then slowly add melted butter and continue whisking until creamy.
  5. Pour batter into baking dish. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a golden crust forms at the top.
  6. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Optional: Lightly dust with powdered sugar just before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Chowhound

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