Mary Kay Andrews’s Hello, Summer Lemon Bars

Mary Kay Andrews’s Hello, Summer Lemon Bars

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 weekly.

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

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Mary Kay Andrews’s Hello, Summer Lemon Bars

Author Mary Kay Andrews's recipe for Lemon Bars celebrates the Florida setting of her latest novel, HELLO, SUMMER.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: -38 bars
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Keywords: Lemon Bars, dessert

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