Lemon Bars

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 2 Cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 Cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  salt
  • 1 Cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the filling

  • 2 Cups  granulated sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon  baking powder
  • 3 s  large eggs
  • 1/3 Cup  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 Teaspoons  lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon  heavy cream
  • 1/4 Cup  confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Happy birthday, Lady Bird Johnson. A gracious and intelligent first lady, she helped make the Johnson administration environmentally active by championing multiple legislation initiatives. After leaving Washington, she continued to devote herself to the land through various endeavors, including the founding of the National Wildflower Research Center and the beautification of Austin’s Town Lake, both of which were renamed in her honor. Lady Bird was a good hostess and had a number of recipes, including the Texas favorite, lemon squares. My version is similar to hers. She didn’t add cream, but I’ve found that a little cream tones down the acid of the lemon without diminishing its flavor.

Directions

For the crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center. Spray a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with flour-added baking spray or line it with nonstick foil.

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour, sugar, and the salt; add the butter and pulse until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press down to make a crust. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Let the crust cool slightly in the pan while you prepare the filling.

For the filling

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, baking powder, eggs, lemon juice, and zest. Stir in the cream. Spoon over the crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Let cool completely in the pan. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Grasp the foil, lift from the pan, set on a cutting board, and cut into 32 squares.

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