When you want a dessert that will really brighten your day, a lemon bar is the only place to turn. And The Pioneer Woman’s Lemon Bars, with their extra thick layer of cookie crust and tart but sweet flavor, are the best lemon bar out there as far as I can tell. They’re simple to make and thanks to their gooey zing of lemon, just one bite will make any day seem sunny. (Not that you’ll be stopping at one bite – that’s nearly impossible with these!)
These start with a sugary cookie crust that’s thicker than you might be used to, but the dough is made by cutting in cold butter so the baked base crumbles nicely when you bite into it. In other words, it’s a nice cookie to lemon filling ratio, but it’s not at all dense or overwhelming.
The crust gets a headstart in the oven and while it bakes, you mix up the filling which is a simple combination of eggs, flour, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. That gets poured onto the crust before it heads back into the oven to set and once the bars are done, they get a dusting of snowy powdered sugar. (Because what would a lemon bar be without a dusting of powdered sugar?)
The tart and sweet balance with these bars is just right – they’re not so sugary that they take away the spotlight from the lemon, but they’ve got enough oomph to satisfy your sweet tooth. A buttery, crisp, and crumbly bite that gives way to ooey-gooey bright lemon and a final dusting of sweetness, they’re everything you want a lemon bar to be.
Pioneer Woman's Lemon Bars
Serves 20; 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes cook time, 2 hours inactive
For the crust:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, cubed
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
- Zest and juice of 4 lemons
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter.
- Start by making the crust:
- In a medium bowl, stir together the 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Add butter and cut in with a pastry cutter until mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Press into prepared pan and bake until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
- While that bakes, make the filling:
- In a clean bowl, stir together the sugar and flour. Add eggs and whisk until combined. Add lemon juice and zest and again whisk until combined.
- Pour over crust and bake until set, about 20 minutes.
- Let chill in fridge until firm, at least 2 hours. Dust with powdered sugar, slice into squares, and serve. Enjoy!
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman.