Lemon bars are one of my favorite bar cookies and I definitely prefer them over the more popular brownie. I have a tried and true recipe that I've turned to without fail. Now don't get me wrong, I love it, but my only gripe is that I whenever I dust the top with powdered sugar it inevitably melts in to a sticky goo - not so pretty.
My co-worker raved about the fabulous lemon bars from Devil's Teeth Baking Company and brought one in for me to try. Their lemon bar was different from ones I'd tasted (or made) before. This bar had a crispy and brown top "crust" that allowed the powdered sugar that was sprinkled on top to stay dry.
I searched online to see if Devil's Teeth might have a recipe posted but to no avail. By happy coincidence I was watching some baking videos by one of my favorite websites, Woodland Bakery Blog, and saw a recipe for lemon bars. Even better, I could tell from the video that they had a top crust. Eureka! I tried the recipe and while the filling was exactly what I was looking for I found the crust to be a bit too soft. So I combined my favorite shortbread recipe with this new filling to come up with a lemon bar that had a crispy bottom AND top crust!
Top Crust Lemon Bars
Makes one 9x13 pan (I use a 1/4 sheet pan), about a dozen 3 x 3.25" bars
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
zest of 2 lemons
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray the baking pan with cooking spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly spray the top of the paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix until thoroughly combined and no flour remains.
Press the dough evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. While the crust is baking prepare the lemon filling. You will be pouring the filling on to the hot crust!
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the sugar, flour and baking powder until combined. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs and whisk thoroughly. When the crust is golden brown pour the filling directly over the hot crust and bake until the top is evenly browned, about 25-35 minutes more. [Note: it's easier to pour the filling over the hot crust while the pan is still in the oven.]
Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Cut in to bars and sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.