Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lemon Squares

As a kid, I remember my mom being in the kitchen 90% of the time. She was always cooking something. She made (and still makes) her own pasta, tomato sauce, bread (of all kinds), pretzels, pickles, jams/jellies, cookies, cakes, pies, you name it and she's probably made it. She has always loved cooking. My father's job had us moving around quite a bit when I was a kid. I attended 8 schools between 1st grade and high school graduation. Through all of our moves and all of the different towns and cultures, my mom's food was always a constant in our lives. It was the ultimate in comfort food.

When we moved to Southern Illinois, we found that people ate all sorts of stuff that we had never heard of. So naturally, my mom tried to make some of them. Being Italian, she wanted to try Italian Beef and Italian Cream Cake (neither of which is actually Italian). She hated both and decided to leave the new foods to the "natives".

During our stay in Marion, we soon found that a staple dessert brought to everything from church potlucks to PTA meetings, Girl Scout meetings to work BBQs, was lemon bars. They were always there and always went fast. As kids we learned to covet this potluck delicacy and yearned for our mom to make them at home. Alas, she refused. So, we would anxiously await the next gathering, hoping that someone would remember the lemon bars.

My obsession with this lemony confection died down once we moved to the Chicagoland area, where they are not as readily made. I went years without eating or even thinking about making lemon bars. That was until I moved to Virgina. Southerners love their lemon bars! So, I went on a quest for a tried and true recipe, and then I made it better.

This recipe has been a staple in recipe book for about 8 years now. It is always the first thing requested for me to bring to a party and is usually the first thing to run out. It is a really easy and quick recipe, making it the perfect choice for any party when you need a quick dish to bring. The crust holds up really well to the moist ultra-lemony custard topping. The powdered sugar topping is the perfect compliment to the tartness from the lemons. It is a crowd pleaser!

Lemon Squares
Adapted from All Recipes


3 Cups + 6 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 1/3 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Butter or Margarine, softened
6 Large Eggs
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Lemon Juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Liberally grease a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl, combine 3 C of flour, powdered sugar, and margarine.
  4. Mix well to combine.
  5. Pat the dough into the bottom of the baking pan.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and slightly browned.
  7. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, 6 Tbsp of flour, and lemon juice.
  8. Carefully pour over the hot crust.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Cool completely in the pan.
  11. Once cool, dust the top with powdered sugar.
  12. Using a sharp knife, cut into squares.

Yields: 24 squares

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