These luscious lemon bars really are the best that I’ve ever had. What makes them ‘the best’? Several things: 1) a flavorful shortbread base that isn’t overcooked. 2) a moist, rich and succulent lemon layer (too often the lemon part of a lemon bar is dry and overcooked), and 3) a scrumptious sweetened sour cream topping.
These lemon dessert bars are also delicious without the sour cream topping; if you would prefer you can skip this last part. (You can also top the lemon layer with a little powdered sugar if you’d like).
Best Lemon Bar Recipe
Makes one 9″ x 13″ pan of luscious lemon bars.
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
- 4 extra large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2.5 Tbsp. flour
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Coat a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, preferably one formulated for baking that has flour in it.
- Combine flour and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly (you can do this with a pastry blender or with a hand mixer, stand mixer or food processor. You just want to process the dough until the butter pieces are the size of a pea or a tad smaller). Add the lemon zest if using. Pat into greased 13 inch by 9 inch by 2 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 10- 12 minutes. You just want to start the baking process here – you don’t want to fully cook the crust at this point. So try to take them out before they edges are browned (that usually happens around 14-17 minutes). Remove from oven.
- Meanwhile, in mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients; mix well. Pour over hot crust. Bake for 14-17 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown at the edges. Remove from oven. NOTE: Not overcooking the filling is crucial to having a luscious lemon bar. The top should be set but not golden brown – that would be overcooked and the center will be dry with too much of a crisp browned top.
- While the lemon layer is baking, combine topping ingredients in medium bowl. Spread over filling. Bake 7-9 minutes longer or until the topping is set (it should not brown). Cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Cut bars before serving. (Left overs can be frozen).