Mom’s Lemon Shortbread Squares

So I’m a bit behind in my posts, since I made these squares for Mother’s Day but if you could see my calendar you’d understand: the last five weekends we’ve been going nonstop – if it’s not a bachelorette party in Montreal, it’s a birthday 10k run or prepping for an upcoming vacation, or doing something for the house.

Honestly, I’ve never adulted so hard in my life.

Speaking of adulting, the story behind these lemon squares is a bit embarrassing.  See, ever since we moved into our house I’ve wanted to host a family get together and utilize our backyard.  Mother’s Day seemed like a great opportunity, and luckily everyone from both sides of the family was down to make the trek over to us.

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SO, we planned to have a BBQ and I was thinking I’d make some fresh, summery desserts to go with the nice weather we’d been having. Thinking about things that my mom likes (fruit), as well as things hubby’s mom likes (chocolate. A LOT), I decided to make lemon shortbread squares (recipe courtesy of Cooking LSL) and a chocolate zucchini loaf.

I know a lot of people are fond of lemon treats – something about the eye-watering tartness combined with sweet is enough to make your mouth water (quite literally) at the sight of them.  These squares combine fresh-squeezed lemons for a bright, fresh, super tart beginning, with the mellow sweetness of a shortbread cookie base. They’re good. REALLY good.

(And the best part? They’re SO easy to make. It’s almost criminal how many compliments you’ll get.)

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Long story short though, my mom recently told me that she’s not a fan of lemon desserts.

Well. Don’t I feel stupid.

At least everyone else at the party enjoyed the squares!

 

INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

FILLING:

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 tsp – 1 tbsp lemon zest (depends on how lemony you want the bars)

 

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 350° C, and grease a 9×9 square pan or dish (I used a glass dish)
  • Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add flour and salt. Mixture will be on the dry side (crumbly and doughy).
  • Press mixture into an even layer in baking dish – use your fingers for this part, it makes it easier to get a tightly formed crust.
  • Bake crust for 15-18 minutes or until edges are golden.  Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes, while you prepare the filling.
  • In a bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar.  Slowly add flour so you don’t get any lumps.  Add lemon juice and zest and whisk to combine.  The mixture will be quite runny and should be smooth.
  • Pour lemon mixture over cooled crust and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top looks set.
  • Let the bars cool in the pan for about an hour, and then refrigerate for 2+ hours.  Don’t try cutting them before they’re refrigerated because the crust will crumble apart!
  • Once fully chilled, cut into squares and store in the fridge until ready to eat. Just before serving you can dust with powdered sugar to make Pinterest-perfect little squares.

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Ok, so my thoughtful Mother’s Day dessert might have been a flop with my mom, but at least I got a great recipe to add to my collection! Next year I’ll stick with the tried and true  – angel food cake, whipped cream and strawberries. Sorry Mom!

 

 

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