Jenay's Famous Lemon Bars
• 2½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
• 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
• ½ cup powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
• 6 eggs
• 3 cups granulated sugar
& bull; 1 cup fresh lemon juice
• ½ cup freshly grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, stir 2 cups of the flour together with the butter and powdered sugar to make a dough. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, building up a 1-inch edge on all sides.
Bake for 15 minutes, until very lightly browned; remove from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. (Leave the oven on.)
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix the eggs with the granulated sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest; set aside. In a small bowl, mix the remaining ½ cup flour with the baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix well.
Pour the mixture over the prebaked crust.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden around the edges and set in the middle. Let the bars cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before refrigerating for another 30 minutes (which makes them easier to cut). Cut into squares and sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can eat them warm or at room temperature, but I love them ice-cold.
Store the bars, covered in plastic wrap, at room temperature for a couple of days (but they will best retain their flavor and shape for about 1 week in the refrigerator). They also can be stacked on layers of wax paper and frozen for about 1 month. Thaw them in the refrigerator. Makes about 20 squares.
— Denise Gee, author of “Sweet on Texas”
Grapefruit Lemon Bars with Salted Shortbread Crust
• 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt (reduce to 1 teaspoon if using salted butter)
• ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2/3 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
• ¼ cup flour
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup reduced grapefruit juice (see note below)
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 3 eggs
• Pinch salt
• 1 tablespoon lemon or grapefruit zest (or a mixture of both)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To make the crust, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. In a food processor, pulse together the butter and powdered sugar until smooth. (If you don't have a food processor, you could use an electric hand-held mixer.) Add the dry ingredients to the food processor bowl, and pulse to combine, just until mixture is crumbly and holds together when pinched.
Tear two sheets of parchment paper and lay them perpendicular in an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking dish. (This not only prevents the bar from sticking to the pan but it also makes it easier to remove the bars once they have cooled.)
Using dry fingers, press the crust mixture into the bottom of the parchment-lined dish and about half an inch up the sides of the dish. Bake crust for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven, but leave oven on.
While crust is baking, make the filling by whisking together the flour and sugar in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the citrus juice, eggs, salt and zest. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients, whisking until sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture rest for at least 10 minutes to let some of the air bubbles rise to the surface.
Pour filling into the warm crust and then place back in the oven. Bake for another 25 to 25 minutes, until center of filling has set. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Refrigerate for at least one hour before removing from pan and cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve. Makes 16 to 25 squares.
— Addie Broyles
Note: I absolutely love grapefruit, but grapefruit juice, while great for drinking straight, isn't as strong as lemon juice, so you cannot substitute it one-for-one in a lemon bar recipe. However, if you simmer twice as much grapefruit (or blood orange or Cara Cara orange or whatever fancy citrus that you discover at Central Market or Whole Foods this time of year) until it has reduced by half, you can incorporate that into your favorite bar recipe.
You could make this with all grapefruit juice, but I like the signature tart from lemon, so I used half reduced grapefruit juice and half lemon. You could use all lemon zest for this recipe or a mixture of both. This salted shortbread crust recipe is based on one in the January issue of Bon Appetit.