Both the houses I grew up in had swimming pools, so when any summer holiday rolled around the party was always at my house (in New Jersey this carried the added benefit of free volunteer labor to remove the pool cover on Memorial Day and put it back on on Labor Day). My mom’s lemon squares were always part of the celebration. They were en vogue in the seventies, and her lemon squares were famous for being better than anyone’s. I don’t think it’s because they are hard to make or that she used a vastly different recipe; it’s that she didn’t cut corners with ingredients. You can’t use lemon juice from a bottle or margarine instead of butter; you might as well buy that gross Krustee Lemon Bar kit in a box (no, don’t do that. No one should ever do that. Life is too short.). Years later I still make my mom’s recipe, and I’ve never had better. Someone at a women’s retreat once said, “Whoever made those lemon bars is going to be making them in heaven.” I don’t know that I’ve had a better compliment to my baking than that.
3/4 C. butter (I kind of like salted, but you can go with unsalted too)
1/2 C. powdered sugar
1 1/2 C flour
3 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 C sugar
juice of one lemon
Mix butter, powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 C. flour. Pat into a 13×9 pan, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over baked crust and return to the oven for 20 minutes more (you may have to play with this part. In high altitude Colorado they are usually done in closer to 15 minutes. if the edges are getting brown and the top feels more or less solid, they’re done). Remove, cool, and dust with sifted powdered sugar.
- Blythe AAR