This recipe had been waiting so patiently to be made, and finally it was time. I made these for a barbecue recently, after the hostess asked if I had a lemon bar recipe. Heh, did I ever!
I found this recipe on Made In Mel’s Kitchen, probably around the time it was written, about 2 years ago. I haven’t modified a thing, though I’d recommend you grease the side of the pan before you bake it, as the filling stuck to mine a bit. There’s enough butter in the crust that you don’t have to worry about the bottom or topping.
Though I’m not much for turning on my oven these days, I’d highly recommend you make them when you get a chance. I have a hunch that they’d also be fabulous with key limes.
CREAMY LEMON SQUARES – makes 20-24
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1+1/3 cups AP flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup uncooked oats
- 21 oz (1.5 cans) sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I squeezed 2 lemons and called it a day)
- zest from one lemon
Preheat your oven to 350ºF, and grease the sides of a 9×13″ pan.
Cream together your butter and brown sugar. While that’s going, sift together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in your oats, and combine it all with the butter mixture. Mix on low until the mixture is crumbly.
Press 2/3 of the crumbly dough into the bottom of your prepared pan. You’ll want to pack it down so as to make a firm crust. Set the rest aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together your sweetened condensed milk with the lemon juice, and zest. A spatula will be fine, they should come together swiftly. Here’s a warning – this combination smells RANCID. Look, it’ll end up tasting delicious, but those two ingredients did not agree with my nostrils prior to baking. Fair warning, is all.
Pour and spread the filling on top of your crust in the pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 crumb mixture, but do not press it down.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Let the pan cool for about half an hour after baking. Cut into squares (I did 5 x 4 to get 20 squares), and then refrigerate the bars for a couple of hours. They taste best served cold.
These were a big hit. They’re tart but creamy. I wasn’t too crazy about the crumbliness of the crumb, it didn’t really stay atop the bars, but I’ll remedy that another day. These suckers are pretty heavy as well. Not dense, per say, but have a significant heft when you pick them up. It was just surprising considering their small stature.
These are the perfect end to a summer barbecue, so if it drops below 80 in your area, you should get on it. The evil rating on these has to be a 3 at least, because I’m pretty sure that’s how many I had in one sitting. And in the next…