Living in the Ozarks my whole life, I’m used to the weather toying with my emotions.  Temperatures here can yo-yo so quickly, it’ll make your head spin.  For example, it’s not unheard of for us to drop from 88 to 28, basically overnight.  This year, it seems nearly all of the country is getting a taste of what we Ozarkians have grown accustomed to: schizophrenic weather.  One thing that never changes, though, is the welcome return of all the flowers.  We’re greeted by pinks and purples, reds and yellows popping on a canvas of every shade of green imaginable.  Bright, cheerful color covers the landscape, and people themselves seem more bright and cheerful, in turn.  So, this week, I wanted to bring you all a recipe that celebrates the sunny, fresh feel of summertime in the Ozarks, even if the weather where you are can’t seem to make up its mind about what season it is.  And, as beautiful as these lemon bars are, they taste even better!  Rather than being somewhat dense and gelatinous, like typical lemon bars, they’re custardy and creamy with a crisp, brulee-like, top.  Sunny and bright as a warm day, I promise these bars will bring a smile to your face as easily as a bouquet of fresh blossoms.

Here’s what you’ll need:

For the crust:

  • 2 sticks (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Cooking spray, butter, or parchment paper to line a 9×13 pan

For the filling:

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 2 T. lemon zest
  • 1 c. lemon juice
  • 1 c. flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

First, preheat the oven and make the crust.  Cream together the butter and sugar and then slowly add the flour and salt until a stiff dough forms.  It will be about the consistency of sugar-cookie dough.  Spray the baking dish and spread the dough out evenly with your hands, going about 1/2-inch up the sides.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

Next, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon zest and juice, and flour until smooth.  Pour the lemon mix over the cooled crust and bake (again, in a preheated 350° oven) for 30-40 minutes until the top is solid and slightly golden, but the center still jiggles.  Remove from the oven and cool completely to room temperature, or let it chill in the fridge overnight.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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