Perfect Lemon Bars

Tart and tangy Lemon Bars with a buttery shortbread crust are  sure to steal the spotlight as your Easter dessert this year. This super easy dessert is guaranteed to brighten up even the gloomiest spring day. Beside who can think of a better dessert for springtime? I know I can’t! Lemon bars are best eaten the day they are made while the shortbread crust is firm and the lemon filling is tart. You can keep these covered in a refrigerator for a few days but the shortbread crust will soften and the lemon flavor won’t be as tart. But seriously, they aren’t going to last that long anyway! ;) These refreshingly sweet and tart lemon bars are the perfect dessert for Spring! :)

Perfect Lemon Bars

Ingredients:

For the Crust:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold cut into 1-inch pieces
For the Lemon Filling:

4 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons finely grated zest, about two large lemons
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 3 to 4 large lemons
1/3 cup whole milk
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends and then lay second sheet crosswise over it.. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade. Pulse flour, confectioners’ sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter and process 8 to 10 seconds, until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal. Process again for three 1-second bursts. Sprinkle mixture into lined pan and press firmly with fingers into even layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
While the crust is baking, make the filling: in a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour. Stir in lemon juice, zest, milk, and salt; set aside.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Stir filling mixture and pour into warm crust. Bake until filling feels firm when touched lightly, about 20 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely. Cut into bars and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Source: Food.com, originally from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, May, 1998