November 30, 2014

Top Crust Lemon Bars

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

Shortbread Crust
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
Lemon Filling
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.


  1. Thank you, what is life without a delicious lemon bar in your life?

  2. Anonymous3/16/2015

    Ha! Loved your shot with the one missing square!! Can't wait to try out your recipe as Lemon bars are my dgts' and my favorite cookies, but have never been brave enough to make at home!
    - Emily

  3. Anonymous6/14/2015

    Just tried them this weekend. Was that 2C of sugar a typo? It was WAY too sweet! Really couldn't taste anything lemon-y at all - such a shame!

  4. I love the Devil's Teeth Bakery (we go there whenever we're in San Francisco to visit our daughter) I have the same problem with having powdered sugar sticking to my lemon bars. I'm going to try your recipe for sure, thanks!

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  6. Hi Grenchen...I have been looking for a lemon square with a crust on the bottom and the top. The bakeries where I live sell them and I was told that you have to bake the bottom crust first and let it cool and then bake it again for the top crust. Do you know how they do this and can you make a video so I can make them. I need to see how this is done. I sure would appreciate it if you could....Joni

  7. Where is the part of the recipe that tells how to do the top crust. It sounds like all the others. Am I missing something?

  8. I was wondering about that too. Seems the part of adding the top crust was missing. I can get double crust lemon square here in Massachusetts but, I'd really like to make my own. Has anyone figured how?

  9. I have been making double crust lemon bars by accident for about a year now. I am unsure how to make them single-crust. My recipe is similar to the one in this post. My suspicion is that the double-crust results from a combination of several factors, most importantly: pouring the lemon filling onto the hot crust. If the crust is less dense than the filling, it should float to the top. Since the crust is hot, and made with lots of butter, it can flow like a fluid. I've noticed a thin layer of crust stays on the bottom... This is most likely a result of that surface drying out and becoming rigid when the crust is first baked. It adheres to the pan/parchment paper, and the custard cannot permeate it.

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  12. wheres the double crust?

  13. a bakery in RI that was in business since 1917 had the best double crusted lemon squares. ive been searching for recipe ,none can be found on google you tease me with this and its not double crust instruction or ingredients ??

    1. I have been searching and searching! I am in Rhode Island….which bakery are you referring to??

  14. Anonymous8/14/2023

    I an originally from Warren RI. A bakery there made the double crust lemon squares. They were so delicious


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