Whenever I need a need a new recipe I head to Pinterest to do some research. Unless it’s a family recipe that has been passed down or something I saw on a cooking show, I usually don’t follow just one recipe’s instructions. Instead, I combine several recipes.
First, I search for whatever recipe I need, then Pin any recipe that I come across that has the recipe. Then I go through the careful process of reading through every recipe and noting the ingredients, the measurements, the time, and the steps/techniques used. I take the common things in the recipes and the steps, ingredients, or measurements that are in some recipes but not others, and formulate my own recipe. Interestingly, I do the same process when I am trying out a new craft project!
For this Recipe Report, I will be featuring lemon bars. Lemons bars are a perfect treat for spring and summer and they’re incredibly easy to make. I consider a good lemon bar to be chewy and sticky, not gooey and runny. Also, I prefer mine to be about an inch thick and not too thick.
Click here to skip ahead to the recipe or keep reading to see how I got there!
The most popular pins for lemon bars were listed on these blogs and sites:
- Tastes of Lizzy T
- An Italian in My Kitchen
- Jen Around the World
- Pear Tree Kitchen
- Live Well Bake Often
- The Baking Chocolates
- Dinner Then Dessert
- Rock Recipes
Let’s get started!
First, I looked at the pictures from these posts and compared their appearance (just based on the pictures). I did try some of these recipes and they turned out just like the pictures on their sites did.
|Tastes of Lizzy T||Runny||1 inch|
|An Italian in My Kitchen||Firm/Chewy||1 inch|
|Jen Around the World||Firm/Chewy||1-2 inches|
|newtranvy.com||Thick/Gooey||1 – 1 ½ inches|
|Pear Tree Kitchen||Firm/Chewy||1 inch|
|Live Well Bake Often||Firm/Chewy||1 inch|
|The Baking Chocolates||Runny/Gooey||1 – 1 ½ inches|
|Dinner Then Dessert||Clear/Shiny/Possibly Runny||1-2 inches|
|Rock Recipes||Firm/Gooey||1 – 1 ½ inches|
Lemon bars consist of a shortbread crust that is baked first and then a lemon filling that is poured and baked on top of that. Let’s start with oven temperatures and baking times. I know that everyone’s ovens can differ a little, so maybe that is why there is a range of times listed. In my own recipe I list a minimum time amount but a small range just in case you need to keep it in the oven a little longer. Below is a comparison chart of baking times.
|Preheat||Crust Baking Time||Filling Baking Time|
|Tastes of Lizzy T||350||15-18 min||25 min|
|An Italian in My Kitchen||350||18-20 min||25 min|
|Jen Around the World||350||20 min||20 min|
|New Tranvy||350||15-20 min||30-35 min|
|Pear Tree Kitchen||375||20-25 min||18-22 min|
|Live Well Bake Often||350||20-25 min||18-22 min|
|The Baking Chocolates||350||15-20 min||25-30 min|
|Dinner Then Dessert||350||22-25 min||30-35 min|
|Rock Recipes||350/325 for glass||20 min||20-25 min|
Now let’s get to the shortbread crust! Some recipes called for a pinch of salt, but those typically used unsalted butter. Personally, I like using salted butter. I usually taste test and if I feel it needs just a pinch of salt, I will add some. All of these recipes use all-purpose flour, but I like to use cake flour. If you use cake flour, be sure to add 2 tbsp to every cup that you use.
|Tastes of Lizzy T||1 cup||¼ cup||½ cup|
|An Italian in My Kitchen||1 cup||¼ cup||½ cup||pinch|
|Jen Around the World||2 cups||½ cup||1 cup||¼ tsp|
|New Tranvy||2 cups||½ cup||½ lb||1/8 tsp|
|Pear Tree Kitchen||2 cups||2/3 cup||1 cup|
|Live Well Bake Often||1 ¾ cups||½ cup||1 cup||¼ tsp||¼ cup|
|The Baking Chocolates||1 cup||¼ cup||½ cup||pinch|
|Dinner Then Dessert||1 ½ cups||6 tbsp||12 tbsp|
|Rock Recipes||2 cups||½ cup||1 cup|
Now on to the best part, the lemon filling! Like I said before, I don’t like mine to be runny and gooey. I have found that the more eggs and more than a cup of sugar helps to get that chewy consistency that I like. Also, I have tried using caster sugar but that ended up making it runny, too. This was probably because caster sugar is more fine. So, stick with granulated sugar! As for how much lemon juice is in a lemon, it really depends on the size of your lemons. To get 1/2 cup of lemon juice, I have used a range of 3-6 lemons so I suggest getting at least 6!
|Eggs||Sugar||Lemon Juice||Flour||Lemon Zest||Baking Powder||Salt|
|Tastes of Lizzy T||2||1 cup||3 tbsp||2 tbsp||¼ tsp|
|An Italian in My Kitchen||2||1 cup||3 tbsp||½-1 lemon||3 tbsp||pinch|
|Jen Around the World||4||1 ½ cups||4 lemons||¼ cup||4 lemons|
|New Tranvy||6||3 cups||1 cup||1 cup||4-6 lemons|
|Pear Tree Kitchen||3||1 ½ cups||1/3 cup||¼ cup||1 tbsp|
|Live Well Bake Often||4||1 ½ cups||½ cup||¼ cup|
|The Baking Chocolates||3||1 1/3 cups||½ cup/3 lemons||½ cup||2 tbsp|
|Dinner Then Dessert||4||1 ½ cups||¾ cup||¼ cup||1 tbsp|
|Rock Recipes||4||1 ½ cups||¾ cup/2 lemons||¼ cup||2 lemons|
Now, on to my lemon bar recipe! Of these recipes listed, I used the recipes from Jen Around the World, Pear Tree Kitchen, Live Well Bake Often, and Rock Recipes as a based. As I said before, I have tried some of the others, but they came out too runny for my liking. All of these recipes had the appearance that I like in a lemon bar, so I compared baking times and ingredients. I then tinkered with the recipe until I got the perfect lemon bars! I hope you enjoy!
Lemon Bars Recipe
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 2 cups of flour (add 2 tbsp for cake flour)
- 1 cup of butter
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1/4 cup of flour
- Powdered sugar and lemon zest for dusting
- Mix ingredients for the crust and bake for at least 20 minutes until golden brown.
- While the crust is baking, mix ingredients for the filling.
- Rest the crust for 1 minute then pour filling over the crust.
- Bake the filling for at least 20 minute until the top is golden.
- Once cooled, dust with powdered sugar and lemon zest.
Notes: 1) I like to cut mine in smaller squares so I can enjoy little bites a little longer. 2) Refrigerate in a container.