Shortbread Lemon Bars

Shortbread Lemon Bars

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Shortbread Lemon Bars are a combination of buttery, tender shortbread and a silky tart lemon curd, wrapped up into one delicious dessert you’ll want to make for your family.

I’ve been working on this recipe for years, trying to come up with the right combination of crumb and lemony goodness. To begin, the original crust was too hard and dense and there wasn’t enough lemon. I played with the recipe and when I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong, it would get filed away for another year. Finally, I figured out that what I desired was a simple shortbread crust and a lemon curd filling. When I put those two things together, the result was fabulous!

Serving Lemon Bars for a Light Dessert

The crumbly, vanilla-infused shortbread is just salty enough to balance out the sweet, tart lemon filling. Every bite had me nodding and thinking, wow, this is good. I think you’re going to love these lemony bars. Plus, they’re easy to make. You don’t have to cook the sauce or anything!

 

Ingredients for Shortbread Lemon Bars

(See recipe in it’s entirety at the bottom of this post.)

 

Shortbread Crust

Ingredients for the Shortbread Crust

 

  • all-purpose flour
  • corn flour
  • powdered sugar
  • salt
  • butter
  • vanilla paste

 

Lemon Filling

Ingredients for the Lemon Filling

  • granulated sugar
  • all-purpose flour
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • large eggs, room temperature
  • lemon zest

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Prepare an 8-inch square glass baking dish by lining it with parchment paper.

Lining the baking dish with parchment paper is optional. If you want to serve your bars on a plate or tray, doing so will allow for an easy way to remove the bars from the pan. If this is not a concern for you, simply spray the pan with baking spray and don’t worry about the parchment.

 

Prepare the Shortbread Crust

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, corn flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix together.

Cut in the Butter with a Blending Fork or your Hands

Add in bits of butter, and using a blending fork (or your hands) work the butter in until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Now for the secret ingredient infusion! Add the vanilla paste and mix it in until thoroughly combined.

I added this step from a recent shortbread cookie recipe that I tried and loved. I love how the vanilla paste adds such flavor to the shortbread. You will really be able to taste this, folks!

Place Shortbread Mixture into Prepared Baking Pan

Press the shortbread mixture into the bottom of the pan with a spoon or your fingers. Use a spatula or a small pastry roller to press the dough evenly. Poke the crust with the tines of your fork.

Poking the top of the crust will help eliminate air bubbles from forming while the shortbread bakes.

Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges.

Parbaking the crust will prevent it from becoming soggy once the lemon filling is added. You do not want to skip this step. 

 

Prepare the Lemon Filling

Preparing the Lemons

While the shortbread bakes, prepare the filling. Begin by zesting one of the lemons, enough to make 1 tablespoon. Then squeeze the juice from two of the lemons, or enough to make 1/2 cup.

In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, lemon juice, large eggs, and lemon zest. Whisk this together to combine, but try not to overmix.

Pour Lemon Filling over the Baked Shortbread

When the shortbread has baked, remove from the oven. Give the lemon mixture another stir, and pour over the shortbread to cover.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until the lemon has set and is no longer jiggly. At this point the top will have formed a crust that is light golden brown.

Lemon Bars after They have Baked

Allow to set for 35-45 minutes. Cover and place in the refrigerator

Optionally, you may opt to serve the bars warm. I tried the bars both ways and prefer to serve them cold, as the lemon filling will set up even more and are easier to slice and serve at that point. 

Lift Parchment from Baking Pan and Slice the Bars

Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper from the pan and onto a baking sheet. Slice the bars with a sharp knife, wiping the knife off after each slice for clean cuts. Place the bars onto a plate or serving tray. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

This recipe will make 9 large square bars. If you’d prefer, you may double this recipe by using an oblong baking sheet–or simply slice the bars into narrow fingers to serve up to 18.

Serve Lemon Bars with Tea

These lemon bars would make a lovely summer dessert following a light dinner. Or serve them for an afternoon tea party!

See more Bars and Cookies Here. Browse Lemon Recipes Here. View Desserts Here. 

 

Recipe for Shortbread Lemon Bars

Shortbread Lemon Bars

Shortbread Lemon Bars are a combination of buttery, tender shortbread and a silky tart lemon curd, wrapped up into one delicious dessert you’ll want to make for your family.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Lemon Curd, Lemons, Shortbread Crust, Vanilla Paste
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 9

Equipment

Grater/Zester
Lemon Juicer
Stainless Wire Whisk
Glass Baking Pans

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Lemon Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Gather your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table. Prepare an 8-inch square glass baking dish by lining it with parchment paper.
    Or spray dish with baking spray if you are not using the parchment paper.

Prepare the Shortbread Crust

  • In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, corn flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Mix together.
  • Add in bits of butter, and using a blending fork (or your hands) work the butter in until the mixture resembles crumbs.
  • Now for the secret ingredient infusion! Add the vanilla paste and mix it in until thoroughly combined.
  • Press the shortbread mixture into the bottom of the pan with a spoon or your fingers. Use a spatula or a small pastry roller, press the dough out evenly all the way to the sides and corners. Poke the crust with the tines of your fork.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges.

Prepare the Lemon Filling

  • While the shortbread bakes, prepare the filling. Begin by zesting one of the lemons, enough to make 1 tablespoon of zest.
    Then squeeze the juice from two of the lemons, or enough to make 1/2 cup of juice.
  • In a large bowl, combine the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, lemon juice, large eggs, and lemon zest. Whisk this together to combine, but try not to overmix.
  • When the shortbread has baked, remove from the oven. Give the lemon mixture another stir, and pour over the shortbread to cover.
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes until the lemon has set and is no longer jiggly. At this point the top will have formed a crust that is light golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for 25-35 minutes. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper from the pan and onto a baking sheet. Slice the bars with a sharp knife or bench knife, wiping the knife off after each slice for clean cuts. Place the bars onto a plate or serving tray. If desired, dust with powdered sugar before serving.
  • This recipe will make 9 large square bars. If you'd prefer, you may double this recipe by using an oblong baking sheet--or simply slice the bars into narrow fingers to serve up to 18.

Notes

*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.

Nutrition

Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg
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