A perfect balance of sweet and tart, these lemon bars, prepared in layers, require surprisingly little hands-on work. You’ll mix the buttery, shortbread crust and as that bakes, you’ll whisk together the creamy, citrus filling. When the crust’s baked through, spread the top layer over it, and bake for awhile longer, before letting the whole pan cool in the fridge. One simply but smart shortcut—lining the baking pan with crisscrossed sheets of parchment paper—makes lifting these bars out of the pan, chopping, and storing them a snap. Even better: The individual bars, wrapped or covered, will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
nonstick cooking spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
⅔ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Calories from fat 46
Sat fat 3g
How to Make It
Heat oven to 350° F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with the cooking spray. Line the pan with 2 crisscrossed pieces of parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; spray the parchment with the cooking spray.
Make the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, granulated sugar, and salt; pulse until fine crumbs form. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake until pale golden, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, cream, and salt.
When the crust is baked, rewhisk the lemon mixture and pour onto the hot crust. Bake until just set, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.
Holding both sides of the paper overhang, lift the cake out of the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and cut into 24 rectangles (6 rows by 4 rows). Store the bars covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar before serving.