I know we’re entering the coziest months of autumn, but something about all these pumpkin breads and bowls of Halloween candy (someone come and take the Reeses Peanut Butter Cups AWAY FROM ME!) have me craving citrus of all things. Something sweet but something with a tart bite. Today, a lemon bars recipe with a hint of nuttiness and crunch (aka the poppy seed!).
Also, let it be know that I’m in testing mode for this year’s Christmas Cookie Tin and I’m fairly certain these little lemon squares will make the cut. Am I going to test a batch with leftover cranberry sauce after Thanksgiving dinner? Yes, absolutely.
And while I’ve got lemon on the brain, and an ice cube tray of frozen Meyer lemon juice in the freezer, here are a few other lemon things I want you to get into:
Dad’s Lemon Chess Pie (a classic – I love this pie!)
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need for this lemon bars recipe:
• lemons for their zest and juice.
• granulated sugar
• all-purpose flour to thicken the lemon filling and make the shortbread crust.
• unsalted butter (and here’s why we use unsalted butter)
• cornstarch to help the filling set.
• poppy seeds because we’re clever and we love a classic lemon + poppy seed combo.
We’ll start this lemon bar recipe by making the buttery shortbread crust.
Whip together softened butter and granulated sugar until well incorporated, pale, and fluffy.
Add flour, salt and poppy seeds.
What I love about this crust is the fact that it’s PRESS IN.
No fussing to roll and transfer, just press the crust evenly across the bottom of a parchment lined pan and bake until juuuust golden around the edges and set.
While the crust par bakes, make the lemon filling.
Start by whisking together the eggs and sugar until just slightly thickened.
Whisk in the flour, cornstarch and lemon zest. The filling batter will be loose. That’s right! The eggs, flour and cornstarch will all set after some time in the oven.
Bake until set. To test for doneness give the pan a little shake. If the center of the lemon bars jiggle consistently, the bars are done! If the center of the bars jiggle in a wave-like motion, the bars needs more time in the oven.
Allow the bars to cool to room temperature. If you need to speed up this process, sneak the mostly cooled bars into the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so. Cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar and poppy seeds and cutting into squares.
Have you ever used non melting powdered sugar? It’s a game changer for lemon bars and bundt cakes you plan on gifting!
Aren’t these just lovely!? Classic with a little twist. A bit of brightness for the autumn baking season. Let me know how they bake up for you!Print
Lemon Poppy Seed Bars
A simple twist on classic lemon bars.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: About 12 bars 1x
- Category: dessert
For the Crust:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the Topping:
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 3 tablespoon (25 grams)s all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- Powdered sugar and poppy seeds for topping
- Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9-inch baking pan, line with parchment paper (so that it over hangs slightly from the pan) and grease the parchment paper. Set aside.
- To make the crust, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add flour, salt and poppy seeds. Beat on low speed until dough is incorporated. Dough may come together, but if it remains shaggy, that’s fine too.
- Dump the crust into the prepared pan and use your fingertips to press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until just browned around the edges.
- You can make the filling while the crust is baking. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well combined and slightly thick. Sift the flour and cornstarch over the egg mixture and whisk in. Add the lemon juice, and zest and whisk until blended.
- Pour the filling over the still warm baked crust. Return to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and no longer jiggling in the center.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of the pan. Slice lemon bars into 9 or 12 squares squares. Use the over hanging parchment paper to lift the squares out. To store the lemon bars, place them in an airtight container separated by wax paper layers. Dust with powdered sugar and poppy seeds before serving.
Photos with my favorite Jon Melendez.