Have you ever had the idea to just randomly open a recipe book and stab your finger down on the page...then make the recipe it lands on?
That's the way I made lemon bars the very first time. It was years ago when my boys were in scouts. I had just got home from work and I needed to make a treat (while I was fixing dinner) for some special event they were having at a scout meeting that evening.
I landed on the lemon bars recipe and it was perfect...a few simple ingredients and quick and easy to make. I remember they were still warm when I carried them into the meeting.
This is all you need...
2 sticks butter, softened
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix crust ingredients until a soft sticky dough is formed.
Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides of an 8 1/2" by 11" pan.
Using a butter wrapper to press down the dough will keep it from sticking to your fingers...
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes...or crust is lightly browned. It's better not to underbake.
Meanwhile prepare filling...you can use the same bowl. Stir together sugar and flour. Add eggs and lemon juice and a teaspoon or so of lemon zest if you are using fresh lemons. (I keep a small jar of dehydrated lemon peel on hand, and add a sprinkle of that).
Pour this mixture over baked crust...
...and return to the oven for 18 to 20 minutes until filling is"set". It should be soft and custardy but not runny.
Allow to cool and cut into bars or squares.
This recipe might be better with freshly squeezed lemons instead of the bottled lemon juice.
I was going to try it that way one time, and I squeezed my lemons beforehand and had the juice in a little glass bowl ready to use, then as I was tidying up my work area, I absent-mindedly dumped the bowl of juice in the sink.
I took it as a sign that the bottled lemon juice is what I should be using!