Lemony and buttery, these lemon bars will sure to be your next favorite thing to bake! I used a secret ingredient in the shortbread crust that amps up the flavor, and I can’t see myself doing my shortbread crust for these lemon bars without this ingredient ever.
Like I mentioned in my Very Berry Coffee Cake post, my husband tends to say everything I bake is his favorite. BUT he does have a list of his ultimate favorites when it comes to the baked goods I make him. This is definitely one of those. Of course, he loves anything with fruit, especially berries or lemons.
So what exactly is the secret ingredient? Unsweetened shredded coconut! It actually doesn’t taste that coconuty as a whole, but it does give a really good depth of flavor. It also adds an almost caramel-y and toasty flavor to the bottom half of the shortbread crust, which makes it tastes like you almost have three layers instead of just two. There’s the darker shortbread in the bottom, a lighter, buttery middle, and then the zesty, lemony filling.
Tools you’ll need
- 215 g all-purpose flour
- 151 g sugar
- 143 g unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 48 g unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 265 g sugar
- 4 eggs
- 50 g flour
- 3 large lemons, zested and juiced (about 130 g)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put all the shortbread base ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get a slightly lumpy, sandy mixture. The lumps should be like the size of rice grain.
- Pour into a parchment-lined 8x8 baking pan. If you don't have an 8x8, a 9x9 would suffice, but the lemon layer just might be a little thinner. Partially bake for 10 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, lemon juice and zest, and sugar until fully incorporated. Sift in the flour and lightly whisk it in just until you don't see flour anymore.
- Take out the par-baked shortbread crust and pour the lemon filling right on top. Yes, you're doing this while the base is hot and no need to wait for it to cool down. Immediately put back in the oven and bake for 30 more minutes.
- Let it cool down and dust with powdered sugar if you'd like! Cut into 16 squares and serve!