Meyer Lemon Bars

When I go to a bakery or cafe, I usually don’t select lemon bars for my sweet treat. I find most lemon bars too tart and sweet. Also, the traditional shortbread crust a little too tough. Now Meyer lemon bars on the other hand, are delicious, slightly tart with a hint of sweetness. Meyer lemons are naturally sweeter than regular lemons because they are a hybrid of lemons and mandarin oranges, requiring less sugar when when making Meyer lemon bars. Meyer lemons are also brighter yellow in color and have a thinner skin, giving the bars a neon-like color.

My Meyer lemon bar recipe has half the sugar of other lemon bar recipe. Some recipes put in the zest directly in the curd. I liked the added flavor from the zest, but then curd didn’t have the smooth texture. By infusing the lemon zest in the lemon juice, and then discarding the zest did the trick. I also add cornstarch to the crust to make it more crumbly. That way it didn’t feel like I was biting into a hard cookie. When Meyer lemon season comes along, I bake a couple of batches: one for my family and one for my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law doesn’t like anything with lemon flavor, but loves these lemon bars. I think that’s a good indication that this recipe is pretty good. Happy baking.

Baking Spray
1 1/4 cups of Meyer lemon juice (about 5-6 Meyer lemons)
1 Tablespoon of Meyer lemon zest
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (12 Tablespoons) – soften
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon of organic cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 large eggs
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of Kosher salt
Powder sugar for dusting

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1. Coat the bottom and sides of a 13″x 9″ baking pan with not a nonstick baking spray. Set aside.

2. Add the lemon zest to the lemon juice. Set aside.

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3. Heat the oven to 350°.

4. In a stand mixer, add the butter and 1/2 cup sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy (about 3 minutes).

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5. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 30 more seconds.

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6. In a small bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 of flour, cornstarch, and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Set the mixer to the lowest setting and slowly add the flour mixture half a cup at a time.

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7. The mixture will come together and look like small peas. Turn off the mixer.

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8. Using your clean hands, form a ball. Then flatten it and place it directly in the greased baking pan, pressing down until the bottom of the pan is evenly covered with the dough.

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9. Using the tines of fork, prick the dough and several places. The will prevent the dough from rising and forming pockets.

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10. Place the baking pan in the freezer for 10 minutes.

11. Remove the baking pan from the freezer and put it directly in the oven. Bake for roughly 30-35 minutes until slightly golden.

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12. Place on a rack to cool.

13. Turn up the oven heat to 350°.

14. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the 1/2 cup of flour, baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

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15. Add all the eggs into the flour mixture. And whisk until the mixture is smoot, but don’t over whisk.

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16. Add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and whisk again until smooth.

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17. Place a sieve over a bowl, and pour the Meyer lemon juice and zest mixture into the sieve. Discard the Meyer lemon zest.

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18. Add the Meyer lemon juice to the egg, flour, sugar mixture. Whisk just until the juice is incorporated.

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19. Pour the Meyer lemon curd mixture over the baked crust.image20. Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is set and edges are golden

21. Cool on a rack for about 30 minutes.

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22. Cut into 24 squares. Place the squares on top of a cooling rack. Place a parchment paper underneath the rack.

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23. Dust Meyer lemon bars generously with the powder sugar. Dust only the ones you will be serving the day of and refrigerate the rest for up to three days. Dust remaining with powder sugar right before serving. This prevents the lemon curd from absorbing the powder sugar during refrigerating.

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