Sunburst Lemon Bars

August 9, 2012 · 16 comments

Lemon Bars Stacked

Things I’ve realized lately…

I have exactly no idea what I’m going to do with my time when the Olympics are over. Except maybe go back to watching Food Network compulsively.

Sometimes I just want to buy brown bananas at the grocery. As good as almost ripe bananas have tasted for breakfast, I’d really like a slice of banana bread in my world.

Lemon desserts, and their tart citrus flavor, are not at all what I’m craving when my bank suggests I file an extension on my mortgage application because the entire world is refinancing and closing next week is not looking good. Moments like this require chocolate and peanut butter…and more chocolate.

This doesn’t mean there’s not a place for lemon bars in the world. It just means it’s not food for solving major life problems. Not that this stopped me from stress eating way too many of these.

Lemon and Zest

These bars are made up of three layers: a shortbread crust, a tart lemon filling and one last citrus punch in a lemon glaze. They make seriously good use of lemon zest and juice…and powdered sugar. This means, when the bars first bake they are tart enough to make your eyes squint. (This is a normal lemon reaction. Right? Right.) But a few days after these bake, the lemon backs off, and the bars are more sweet than tart. It’s chemistry. I dunno.

The best part of this is, even if it is in different phases, everyone likes them.

Unless they’re ready to live in their own house again and underwriters don’t seem to understand that.

Otherwise…total lemon success.

Lemon Bars Cut

Sunburst Lemon Bars
recipe adapted from Pillsbury


2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon lemon zest


4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest


1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

To make the crust, beat flour, powdered sugar, butter and lemon zest until combined. Press into the bottom of a greased 9×13″ pan. Bake 20-25 minutes in a preheated 350° oven, or until light golden brown.

Meanwhile, to make the filling, whisk eggs in a medium sized mixing bowl to break the yolks. Add sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until smooth. Pour atop crust evenly, immediately after removing from oven. Return to oven and bake an additional 25 minutes, or until the top is a light golden brown. Let cool for at least one hour before topping with glaze.

To make glaze, whisk powdered sugar with lemon juice until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled bars.

Store in refrigerator, but let leftovers come to room temperature before serving for best flavor.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) August 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm

lemon glaze on lemon bars sounds heavenly! Good luck w/ the bank. Banks are a pain in the butt!


The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time August 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I read the word ‘tart’ and my mouth immediately watered up. Instant response, which I attribute to psychological chemistry. I’d be eating this in all their tart glory. I love my lemon bars that way. See, mouth watering again. Since I’m not a chocolate fan, I do count on things like this to solve my ills for me.


Nancy @ gottagetbaked August 9, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Yum…these bars look lip puckeringly tasty! Like you, I usually crave chocolatey treats more than citrus, but I’d never pass up a good lemon bar. Yours look perfect, especially that thick buttery shortbread crust (my favourite layer). Good luck with the mortgage application – dealing with banks can be so insanely frustrating! Just have another bite of these bars when you feel overwhelmed :)


Michelle (Better with Berries) August 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Yumm!! I have actually never made a lemon-based dessert. But I love them!

Please don’t remind me about the olympics coming to an end. I no longer have cable and I’m not sure what I’m going to do.


Autumn@Good Eats Girl August 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

These look amazing…I love lemon in baked goods!

Agreed on the bananas…I went to the store to see if I could find any brown ones because I want to bake with them, but no go. I now have to wait a few days to make the recipe I was going to…not happy!


Kari @ bite-sized thoughts August 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

These look like sunburst in a slice :) I have really enjoyed lemon products lately so I’m very in favour of the flavours!


Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers August 10, 2012 at 9:34 am

Ohhhh lemon bars! They sound fantastic!! That is one dessert my husband likes, yet I have never made them. Oh I just have to try it!


Jessica@AKitchenAddiction August 10, 2012 at 11:39 am

Good luck with the bank, I hope things work out for you!!

I love lemon bars! I would eat these up in no time!


Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust August 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Oh, man. My mouth started watering as soon as I read “lemon”. These sound wonderful, good luck with the mortgage application!


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet August 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm

Lemon bars always seem to bring sunshine into one’s life! Hope all works out! xoxo


Emily @ Life on Food August 10, 2012 at 8:09 pm

At least you have a delicious bar to come back to just in case. These look delicious! Perfect for summer. Lemon things never seem to weigh me down…that means I can have twice as many.


Baker Street August 11, 2012 at 3:15 am

Good luck with the bank! These lemon bars look fantastic! The reason I don’t make them is because I wouldn’t want to share it with anyone and having all by myself could be a little dangerous!


Kristina August 12, 2012 at 11:20 am

Ooo I wish I had more excuses to bake lemon bars! My friends have started to OD on all the baked goods coming out of my kitchen :) These look fabulous! And that first pic that shows the filling looks too good! Maybe I will just have to bake up a pan anyways…


Jennie @themessybakerblog August 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I could totally see myself stress eating about 5 of these bars. I’m printing this and making them for a friend’s birthday. She is totally bonkers for lemon. These bars are gorgeous!


Jennie @themessybakerblog August 17, 2012 at 8:51 am

I made these on Wednesday, and they are totally awesome! I loved them, my family loved them. Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Baking Serendipity August 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

so glad they were a hit!


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