Did you know that this week is National Picnic Week? We just found out ourselves, but we love picnics so we’re sharing a family favorite summer dessert that is picnic-perfect. They pack up really well in a box or tupperware container, just be sure to put a sheet of parchment paper between stacked layers.
This Lemon Love Note recipe has been passed down for at least three generations now. I’m not exactly sure where it originated, but I know it will be sticking around! The lemon filling really tastes like lemon, which is rather rare for lemon bars these days. My boyfriend says these are the best lemon bars he’s ever tried, which he may just be saying, but it makes me beam regardless. Be prepared to share this recipe with whomever you give a Lemon Love Note!
Lemon Love Notes
For the crust:
1 c. flour
¼ c. confectionery sugar
1 stick (½ c.) cold butter, cut into T. size chunks
For the lemon filling:
1 ½ c. granulated sugar
3 T. flour
3 t. baking powder
3 T. lemon juice, fresh squeezed (I had ½ T. extra juice that I tossed in, it’s all about how lemony you like it. I would even try 4 T.)
zest of two lemons
3 eggs, lightly beaten
For the icing:
¼ cup confectionery sugar
½ t. vanilla
1 T. butter, room temperature
zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8” square baking dish with parchment paper.
In a medium size bowl cut with a pastry blender the flour, confectionery sugar and butter. When the butter is completely incorporated press the dough into the pan lightly with your hands. Pop it into the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are a light golden brown.
While the crust bakes, mix together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and zest, and eggs. Pour this into the crust and bake an additional 30 minutes or so, until the lemon filling is set and doesn’t jiggle in the center. It will have a spongy appearance when done.
Let the lemon bars cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack. Once fully cooled, mix the icing ingredients: confectionery sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, butter, and milk. Allow the icing to set up for a few minutes before cutting into as many pieces you see fit (four if you are feeling generous, sixteen if you’re a just-a-taste kind of person).
Baker’s Note: Always wash and zest your lemons before you juice them! It’s much easier. Then, before juicing you can roll them under your palm on the counter while pushing down to burst the pulp and make it easier to juice.