Photoshoot-Worthy Lemon Bars

I present you with a fantastic photo taken by The Rock Studio of the recipe to come:

Sorry for the culinary narcissism, but I’m foolishly intimidated by baking, and these are so delicious.

I’m foolishly intimidated by all things baking-oriented. I’ve slowly managed to increase my dessert repertoire, but it still takes me almost twice as long to make desserts as recipe time blocks call for, since I get so concerned about screwing up. Thankfully, these lemon bars are very straight-forward. This is a spin on the “Sunburst Lemon Bars” in the Pillsbury Cookbook mother gifted me when I moved into my first apartment in Los Angeles.

When I think of lemon desserts, I think of acid. This isn’t the place to come for powdered sugar-oriented lemon bars….I pack these with acidic lemon flavor.


Base Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup margarine or butter, softened – Yes, this is 2 sticks. Remember, this is for a tray of lemon bars, not a single serving. Butter makes for a flaky crust.


  • 4 eggs – slightly beaten
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Juice of 3 lemons


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 or 1 lemon, depending on how thick/thin you’d like the glaze on top of the lemon bars to be

Turn your oven to 350.

Combine all the base ingredients together until crumbly (no raw flour hanging around anywhere) with your fingertips, a fork, or an electric mixer. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased glass baking dish. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is lightly golden brown.

While the crust is baking, combine all the filling ingredients except the lemon juice. Whisk together until smooth, then whisk in the lemon juice.

Remove pan from the oven after the crust is lightly golden brown, and pour the filling over the warm crust. Return to the oven and bake another 25 to 30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown again. Cool for about an hour – however long it takes for the bars to completely cool down – after removing from the oven.

After the bars are cool, it’s time to put on the glaze. Combine the ingredients for the glaze and whisk together, adding more lemon juice or powdered sugar until the desired smooth consistency is reached. (I like the glaze to be thick, but barely translucent….i.e. with lots of lemon in it.) Pour the glaze over the top of the bars and tilt the baking dish to coat evenly.

Cut into bars when serving, and chill the tray if you’re not serving these right away. You’ll need a spatula to remove the crust from the baking dish….I know this seems obvious, but when there’s a golden tray of deliciousness sitting in front of you, you’d be surprised at how tempting it is to start hacking at the tray with a fork.

These were previously called, “Friend-Cementing Lemon Bars.” I serve them at my holiday party every year. They became photoshoot-worthy after getting inspired by Johnny Iuzzini’s first book, “Dessert Fourplay.” I know….but it was the closest thing to getting him in the kitchen with me. I’m sure if he actually spent time cooking with me he’d get annoyed with my lack of speed.

And if anyone reading is still feeling hesitant about making these:

I mean, that speaks for itself….right?

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