Lemon Bars


I remember my mom baked incessantly in the wintertime. There’s something very soothing when your house is warm and toasty and full of aromas wafting from an oven that’s in constant use.   She truly loved baking. And, lucky for us, we were the proud beneficiaries of all of her baked masterpieces.

Mom had a Flour/Sugar Shaker so she could evenly sprinkle flour, powdered sugar or cinnamon over top her Viennese Crescent Cookies, Salzburger Nockerl, bread dough, or anything else requiring a powdery coating. She really had a flair for presentation and every brownie, every pie, every loaf of bread that was presented to her eager audience was gourmet quality in looks as well as taste.

While I am still mastering the art of baking, and learning the hard way that it’s an exact science with really NO room for error, I have slowly grown to LOVE baking. I love it for its predictability. If you follow the directions, and truly focus on the exact ingredients, the exact measurements and the exact time allocations, chances are, your final product SHOULD turn out as planned.

A few years back I made mom’s recipe for Lemon Squares. They were exactly as how I remembered them— tangy and cake-like with a nice dusting of powdered sugar on top. I was reminiscing about the squares the other day and found another recipe for lemon bars in the New York Times Cooking section (if you don’t subscribe to their email newsletter, you should!) using olive oil and sea salt. I knew I had to attempt to bake them and the weather was so dreadful last weekend, I felt as though it was my calling.  As I was carefully moving through each step of the recipe, I was thinking how exciting it is to witness the transformation of a recipe, simply by altering one or two ingredients.


While I’m still mastering the art of presentation (as you can see from my product shots above), you can’t always judge a book by its cover.  One of these days I’ll purchase a flour/sugar sifter like mom’s to evenly perfectly dust the top of the bars but right now, on a rainy weekend afternoon with kids running around, I’m fine settling with the powdered sugar clumps that fell from the spoon (see photo above).

This particular batch of Lemon Bars is completely different than my last one. The tart custard top layer overlays a crumbly shortbread base layer to create a refreshing and filling treat.


My kids adored them but, they’re very filling. They could only eat one at a sitting. And, everyone preferred eating them after having been chilled in the fridge for a couple of hours. Otherwise the custard layer gets “soupy.”

Hope you enjoy!




  1. […] made Mom’s Lemon Squares that were a big hit with the kids.  By nature they’re very tangy and goey in the center with […]

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