Mary Kay Andrews’s Hello, Summer Lemon Bars
Hello, Summer is set in a small, sleepy Florida town. When people think of Florida, they think of bright, sunny skies, and delicious citrus, and these lemon bars are the perfect way to celebrate that! As a native Floridian, my lust for lemons—indeed any citrus, is, excuse the pun, deep-rooted. Growing up in St. Petersburg, nearly every yard in our neighborhood could boast of at least one citrus tree—tangerines, lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits were plentiful.
For years I was on the hunt for the perfect lemon bar, one that balanced a buttery shortbread cookie base with a puckeringly tart lemon custard layer. My quest ended when I was a features writer at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I sat directly adjacent to the department’s food writers, which meant I was occasionally the recipient of one of the dozens of cookbooks those writers received on a weekly basis.
These bars—my riff on those from Kathleen King’s Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook: The Best Recipes from Southhampton’s Favorite Bakery for Homestyle Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Muffins, and Breads—are both sweet and tart. Do make sure and let them cool completely before cutting; otherwise, you’ll have a gooey (but delicious) mess.
—Mary Kay Andrews
May Kay Andrews's Hello, Summer Lemon Bars
- 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
- 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 cups plus 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup finely chopped slivered almonds
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup fresh lemon juice
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Beat the butter, 1/3 cup of the granulated sugar, 11/2 cups of the flour, the almonds, and the lemon zest with an electric mixer until a stiff dough forms.
- Press the dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned and set.
- While the dough is baking, lightly whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Combine the remaining 2 cups granulated sugar and the 5 tablespoons flour in a separate bowl. Gradually stir the sugar mixture into the eggs. Stir in the lemon juice. Remove dough from the oven, and immediately pour mixture over the hot crust.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until the lemon layer is firm to the touch. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars, dust with powdered sugar, and serve.