Good ole lemon bars

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There seems to be a distinction between cooks and bakers. Many who cook don’t bake much and vice versa. For me, this is because baking is much more of a science. Inaccurate measurements can be fixed or faked while cooking, while that isn’t so much the case in baking. The smaller margin of error can feel intimidating. However, I want to learn to bake, especially after binge-watching way too many episodes of The Great British Bake Off.

So when a friend specially requested lemon bars, I was eager to give them a shot. This is a standard lemon bar recipe, and I was too intimidated to make any fancy adjustments. However, they were deliciously successful, meaning it’s a great recipe for beginner bakers. It’s definitely going in my rotation for future use! (Though I will admit ignorance was bliss not realizing how much of a lemon bar was pure white sugar…)

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Lemon bars
(Original recipe: Allrecipes)

For the shortbread crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the lemon layer:
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar

Place an oven rack into middle position in oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter an 8×8-inch baking dish.
Place 1 cup flour and room temperature butter in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork until thoroughly combined. Mix in 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and salt; mix mixture together until it looks like a slightly crumbly cookie dough.
Moisten your fingers with a little water and press dough into bottom of prepared baking dish. Use a fork to prick holes all over the crust.
Bake crust on center rack in the preheated oven until crust edges are barely golden brown, 22 minutes.
Beat eggs and egg yolks together in a bowl; whisk in white sugar and 2 tablespoons flour until smooth. Add lemon juice and lemon zest; whisk for 2 minutes. Pour lemon custard over crust.
Bake on center rack until custard is set, about 25 minutes. Let the whole dish cool completely. To cut into bars, dip a sharp knife into hot water, run around the edge, and cut into 16 squares. Dust bars with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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