I've had a soft spot for lemon bars ever since seventh grade... Seventh grade was the first year that we were able to take Home Ec. at school, and after weeks of learning how to measure solids and liquids, cut butter into flour, etc., lemon bars were the first recipe that we made in class.
Much to my immense disappointment, we were placed into groups of four to prepare our recipes. I was hoping we'd get to make them solo.
I can still remember rushing home, recipe in hand, eager to try out my newfound skills all on my own in our kitchen. I carefully poured, measured, and baked, and while they may not have been the best ever lemon bars, I recall having the same sense of satisfaction that I still get when I bake from scratch today.
Somewhere along the line I lost that original recipe that I brought home, but over the years I've developed one that I believe is better. I'm fairly certain that my original recipe called for bottled lemon juice, a product you'd be hard pressed to find in my kitchen these days. Fresh is almost always better!
My lemon bars recipe calls for not only freshly squeezed lemon juice, but lemon zest, as well, for a little extra zing. Incidentally, I always zest my lemons before juicing, even if the recipe I'm making doesn't call for it. Lemon zest freezes wonderfully, and I'm saving up to make a batch of limoncello for the holidays!
One last detail about this recipe for lemon bars is that you can easily adjust how tart the bars are. I find that 1/3 cup is a happy medium for my children. If you prefer a lot of pucker (like myself), increase the amount of lemon juice to 1/2 cup. Or if you prefer a little more sweetness, decrease the lemon juice to 1/4 cup.
If you're a fan of lemon, you might also like these Lemon Poppyseed Scones. We love the pepperiness that the poppy seeds add to this breakfast favorite!