As is obvious from this post, this post and this one too :), I definitely am a citrus fan. So, for Easter, I decided to make some lemon bars to go along with the asparagus tart that I was bringing to my mother-in-laws for dinner. I have a large stack of cookbooks in my kitchen and I grabbed a few in the hopes of finding a quick and easy recipe. My mom bought me a Paula Deen cookbook awhile back and I'd never made anything from it. I figured that Paula would be the perfect person for a homey dessert like lemon bars, but I guess I was wrong. They were really....average and just ok. Nothing too special or super delicious.
You can find the recipe for Paula Deen's lemon bars here - I didn't change anything, so I thought instead of re-posting the recipe, I would post some tips. These bars are not a lost cause - they have a nice flavor and I think with a little help they could be really good. I did find a few other lemon bar recipes by Paula Deen - maybe she tweaked it since the cookbook?
- Add a little more lemon: Maybe its just me, but I like the taste and flavor of lemon. These bars were pretty sweet and were missing that over-the-top lemon flavor. I think a bit more lemon zest would give them a kick.
- Thinner crust: The crust on these bad boys was huge! I know that it doesn't look very thick in the photo, but I removed some and some of it stuck to the pan. It seemed like there was more crust than filling and the crust was also a bit tough. I think I overcooked mine a tad, but I would definitely reduce the thickness of the crust next time.
- Less butter: This is a shortbread crust, but I feel like you can definitely go a bit easier on the butter (2 sticks!). The crust was a bit greasier than I would like and it was definitely not as tender as a normal shortbread. The main point of the recipe is the lemon part so I feel like you are really eating so much of your calories here in the crust.
Even though the bars were not perfect, I'm still entering them in Joelen's Tasty Tools event! Cooking or baking with citrus is the perfect way to use your microplane zester - I LOVE mine and use it all the time (even as a replacement cheese grater once in a while). I have definitely almost zested my knuckles with it too :)
If anyone has any great lemon bar recipes - please post in the comments! Have a great weekend!