With the winter months brings the joys of citrus season. Admittedly, I do not bake citrus desserts enough even though I adore them. The main reason being that I do not need tempting sweet treats sitting around, and there is only so much room in our freezer. That's the nice thing about these small batch lemon bars. It makes the perfect amount of bars for enjoying and sharing too!
About these Small Batch Lemon Bars
These small batch lemon bars are sweet, tart, and addictive! The shortbread crust paired with the curd-like lemon filling is nothing short of divine. The crust is simply made with flour, powdered sugar, and all-purpose flour. Simple desserts are truly the best often times, especially when you use high-quality ingredients like real butter and fresh lemons!
These bars are delightful on their own with a light dusting of powdered sugar. However, I really like topping them with fresh raspberries just before serving, as shown below. The sweet freshness of the berries is a beautiful contrast to the tartness of the bars. Plus, the fresh berries look gorgeous too. It's hard to beat nature when it comes to beauty.
Tips for Success
Even though the recipe calls for an alarmingly high amount of sugar for the size of the pan, the fresh lemon juice really cuts the sweetness. As tempting as it may be to alter the recipe by reducing the sugar, do NOT do it. I also advise against purchased lemon juice as a short-cut. The lemon bars will still work, but you’ll be missing the brightness from fresh lemons and the lemon zest! Speaking of zest, make sure to just use the yellow portion and not the white pith. Otherwise, the bars may have a bitter flavor.
The best thing about this recipe below is that it makes a 9x9 inch pan, rather than a 9x13 inch pan like many lemon bar recipes. I find it to still yield plenty of daintily cut bars, but it is a much more manageable recipe. However, they will disappear fast! Lastly, be watchful of the bake times. If the bars are set and starting to brown on the edges, they are done.
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Small Batch Lemon Bars
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Lemon Filling Ingredients
- 3 eggs
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- lemon zest from two fresh lemons
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla optional
- Additional powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x9 inch square pan parchment paper (recommended) or spray with cooking spray. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the butter, flour, and powdered sugar until well-combined using a pastry blender. Mix until there are coarse crumbs but not a cohesive dough.
- Press the base evenly into the pan. Bake the crust for about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until smooth. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, and vanilla and continue whisking until smooth.
- After the crust has cooled 5 minutes (it will still be fairly hot), pour the filling over the crust and return to the oven. Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until the filling is set.
- Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Store in the refrigerator.
- Right before serving, dust with powdered sugar. Serve with fresh raspberries and whipped cream, if desired.
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