Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars
Staff Writer

Allan Penn

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.

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
  • 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

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.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
18g
26%
Sugar
2g
2%
Saturated Fat
3g
13%
Cholesterol
1mg
0%
Carbohydrate, by difference
35g
27%
Protein
4g
9%
Vitamin A, RAE
3µg
0%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
1mg
1%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
5µg
6%
Calcium, Ca
38mg
4%
Choline, total
7mg
2%
Fiber, total dietary
6g
24%
Folate, total
28µg
7%
Iron, Fe
1mg
6%
Magnesium, Mg
39mg
12%
Niacin
1mg
7%
Phosphorus, P
102mg
15%
Selenium, Se
5µg
9%
Sodium, Na
230mg
15%
Water
17g
1%
Zinc, Zn
1mg
13%

Lemon Bars Shopping Tip

There are so many varieties of chocolate on the shelves today it can be overwhelming to pick one – as a general rule of thumb, the fewer the ingredients, the better the chocolate.

Lemon Bars Cooking Tip

Think beyond cakes and pies – fruits like peaches, pineapple, and figs are excellent grilled – brush with melted butter or wine and sprinkle with sugar and spices for a dessert that you can feel good about.

Lemon Bars Wine Pairing

Sweet chenin blanc, muscat, or amontillado sherry with nut-based desserts; sauternes or sweet German wines with pound cake, cheesecake, and other mildly sweet desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines with sweeter desserts; sweet chenin blanc or muscat or Alsatian vendange tardive (late harvest) wines, port, madeira, late-harvest zinfandel, or cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc with chocolate desserts.