ArabianCuisineDessertsFrenchIndianItalianMainsPakistaniQuick & Easy

Easy Lemon Bars

20 mins Cook
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Featuring a buttery shortbread base and a tangy, moderately sweet lemon curd topping, these Lemon Bars are incredibly simple to prepare. They offer the delightful taste of a Lemon Tart but in a much more uncomplicated package!

Lemon Bars
nomnomwow.com Easy Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

These Lemon Bars offer a more straightforward alternative to the intricate process of making a Lemon Tart. A traditional Lemon Tart involves preparing a chilled, rolled-out shortcrust pastry, blind baking it, cooling it, then filling it with lemon curd before baking it once more.

While Lemon Tarts exude beauty, elegance, and impressiveness, there are those days when time is of the essence, and that’s when Lemon Bars come to the rescue! The process is incredibly simple: the base is quickly prepared in a food processor, pressed into a pan, baked, and then you just pour over a uncomplicated lemon curd mixture and bake again.

The lemon curd itself is a delight – it has a jammy, slightly custardy texture, a tangy flavor, and just the right level of sweetness. It hits all the right notes!

Ingredients in Lemon Bars

Here is the list of ingredients required to prepare these Lemon Bars.

FOR THE SHORTBREAD BASE


The ingredients you’ll need are essentially the same ones used in my classic shortbread recipe, as we’re essentially making shortbread here!

  1. Flour – Just regular plain or all-purpose flour.
  2. Rice flour – This ingredient lends a crumbly texture to the shortbread. I don’t include it in my traditional shortbread cookie recipe because it doesn’t enhance the final result due to the specific method I use. However, for this quick and easy food processor blitzing method employed in this recipe, rice flour helps maintain the “short” (crumbly) nature of the shortbread base, which is the signature texture we all associate with shortbread. You can substitute it with cornflour or cornstarch, which will yield a very similar outcome. Even regular flour can be used, although the base won’t be as crumbly as classic shortbread; it will resemble more of a vanilla cookie.
  3. Butter – It should be cold and unsalted, cut into cubes to be blended into a sandy texture with the flour.
  4. Icing sugar or powdered sugar – The fine grains are essential for creating tender, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. Using regular sugar would result in a tougher texture, which is not what we desire!
  5. A pinch of salt – This is a standard practice in sweet baking, as it helps enhance the other flavors without making the end product taste salty.

LEMON CURD FILLING


In my traditional Lemon Tart recipe, I typically recommend separating the eggs and incorporating extra egg yolks into the lemon curd. However, today, we’re simplifying things by using whole eggs.

You’ll need:

  • Eggs – 3 large eggs, which weigh approximately 55 – 60g (2 oz) each and are commonly sold in cartons labeled as “large eggs.” There’s no need to bring them to room temperature, as is often required in baking recipes. These eggs play a crucial role in setting the lemon curd during baking.
  • Caster sugar or super fine sugar is preferred if available because its finer grains ensure easier dissolution into the curd. However, regular granulated sugar works perfectly fine as a substitute.
  • A small amount of flour is included to help ensure proper setting of the curd. We typically don’t use flour in the Lemon Tart filling because it’s made using a traditional method. But today, we’re simplifying the process!
  • Fresh lemons! We’ll be using both the zest and juice for this recipe. Zest adds a delightful lemon flavor, while the juice contributes tanginess to the curd.

Making lemon bars

Promising simplicity, and indeed, it’s a breeze to prepare! Here are the straightforward steps to create these lemon bars:

SHORTBREAD LEMON BAR BASE


Back in my pre-appliance days, which is to say, during my university years when I was on a tight budget, I used to prepare shortbread by manually blending the butter into the dry ingredients using my fingertips. Nowadays, I’ve embraced my lazy side and opted for the food processor method. A few quick pulses, and the work is done. An added bonus: no need to worry about warm little fingers melting the butter!

Here’s the method broken down:

  1. Blitz – Place all the shortbread ingredients into a food processor equipped with the standard “S” blade. Pulse the mixture 5 to 10 times until it transforms into a loose, sandy texture.
  2. Press – Transfer this sandy mixture into a 20cm/8″ pan lined with parchment paper, ensuring some overhang to facilitate easy removal of the Lemon Bars once they set. Spread the base mixture evenly, and then firmly press it down using an item with a flat base, such as a measuring cup. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the edges take on a light golden hue.
  3. While the base is in the oven, whisk together the lemon curd ingredients to prepare the lemon curd mixture.
  4. Pour the lemon curd filling onto the baked base.
  5. Bake for an additional 20 minutes until the top is set but still slightly soft. Don’t be concerned if there are a couple of small cracks on the surface; that’s completely normal and will be concealed by a dusting of icing sugar!
  6. Cool – Allow the bars to fully cool on the countertop, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving.
  7. Optional – To add a touch of elegance, dust the bars with icing sugar just before serving. Keep in mind that the icing sugar may absorb moisture and form a slight “sweat,” so it’s best to do this right before serving.

Eat on the go.


I have a special fondness for these lemon bars, primarily because they’re incredibly easy to prepare, but also because I’m a great enthusiast of baked treats that can be enjoyed with one hand while on the move. Now, don’t get me wrong—I won’t decline a generous slice of cake, and I can never resist a freshly baked apple crumble.

However, those indulgences often call for plates, utensils, and sometimes accompaniments like ice cream and cream.

In contrast, lemon bars and similar treats require no such formality. I won’t even pause my stride as I casually snag one while passing by, indulging on the go.

They possess that unique blend of being both dangerously tempting and exceptionally convenient, all while maintaining their delightful taste.

This quality also makes them a fantastic choice for school bake sales, gatherings, and morning tea at the workplace. They’re simply easy to eat, boasting a high appeal factor that’s sure to please a crowd!

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Easy Lemon Bars

Easy Lemon Bars

maimoona
Featuring a buttery shortbread base and a tangy, moderately sweet lemon curd topping, these Lemon Bars are incredibly simple to prepare. They offer the delightful taste of a Lemon Tart but in a much more uncomplicated package!
prep time
10 mins
cooking time
20 mins
servings
2
total time
30 mins

Equipment

Ingredients

  • SHORTBREAD BASE

  • 3/4 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)

  • 1/4 cup rice flour (or cornstarch/cornflour) (Note 1)

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar / powdered sugar , sifted

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 110g / 1 stick unsalted butter , cold, cut into 1cm / 1/2" cubes

  • LEMON CURD TOPPING

  • 3 large eggs (55-60g/2oz each)

  • 1 cup caster sugar / super-fine sugar (sub regular sugar)

  • 2 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest (do this before juicing)

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (2 – 3 lemons)

Instructions

1
Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C (350°F) or 160°C (320°F) if you have a fan-forced oven. Grease a 20cm/8" square baking tin with oil and line it with parchment or baking paper, leaving some overhang to facilitate easy removal once the bars are cooked.
2
Base – In a food processor equipped with the standard "S" blade, combine the Shortbread Base ingredients. Pulse the mixture 5 to 10 times until it reaches a sand-like consistency. Alternatively, you can use your fingertips (as mentioned in Note 2). Pour this mixture into the prepared tin, spread it evenly, and then press it firmly into the base, ensuring it reaches the edges. It's helpful to use something flat to press it down effectively.
3
Bake the base for approximately 20 minutes or until it turns golden at the edges and a pale golden hue in the middle. Remove it from the oven.
4
Lemon Curd – While the base is in the oven, place the Lemon Topping ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together until well combined.
5
Bake for 20 minutes – Pour the Lemon Curd mixture over the baked base, and then return the tin to the oven. Bake for another 20 minutes or until the topping has set but remains slightly soft.
6
Cool – Take the tin out of the oven and allow it to cool on the countertop for 1 hour. Afterward, refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. Once chilled, slice it into 16 squares, dust with icing sugar (confectionary sugar), and serve!

Notes

Rice flour – Imparts the classic crumbly texture to the base, reminiscent of traditional shortbread. Alternatively, you can use cornflour or cornstarch, which will yield a slightly more "melt in your mouth" texture. Both options are equally delightful! Making the base – In the absence of a food processor, you can employ your fingers to manually combine the butter with the dry ingredients, resulting in the same crumbly texture you see in the photos. Storage – After it has been chilled and set, you can store it at room temperature if your pantry is relatively cool. However, if the room temperature is warmer, it's advisable to keep it in the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before serving. It maintains its quality for up to 5 days. Nutritional information is provided per serving, which equates to one slice among the 16 bars produced by this recipe.
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