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Shaker Lemon Bars

Begin step one the day before you plan to bake these cookies.

  • Yield: Makes about 5 dozen
Shaker Lemon Bars

Source: Martha Stewart Living, December/January 1999/2000

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, washed and dried
  • 2 cups plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Confectioners' sugar, for sifting

Directions

  1. Slice lemons as thinly as possible; remove seeds. Toss slices with 2 cups sugar; transfer mixture to a flat resealable plastic container. Place in the refrigerator overnight.

  2. Place butter, salt, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and flour in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture is crumbly and starts to hold together.

  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-by-17-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Press dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, making sure there are no holes. There should be at least 1/2-inch crust of dough going up the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes

  4. Place lemon-sugar mixture and eggs in the bowl of a food processor. Process until lemon rinds are in 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces, 30 to 40 seconds. Pour mixture over cookie crust. Bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Trim 1/2 inch around edges of pan. Cut into about sixty 1 1/4-by-2-inch pieces. Sift confectioners' sugar over cookies.

Reviews (41)

  • angebakes415 10 Nov, 2013

    Strain the lemon-sugar mixture before combining with eggs otherwise the rinds make the bars too bitter.

  • LRunyan 19 Dec, 2012

    These are the best lemon bars -- bar none! You do need a mandoline to get the slices really thing. Cutting just isn't going to do it. I make these every Christmas.

  • cookandtell 17 Nov, 2012

    I sliced the lemons as thins as possible and let them sit overnight with the sugar and processed the heck out of them in the cuisinart and still had rather chewy tough flecks of rind in the final bars. Also it was super tart, could have used more sugar. My best bet is, it could have spent another 24hours in the fridge macerating with the sugar before being cooked. Given all the rave reviews here, I guess it depends on the kind of lemons you use.

  • cookandtell 17 Nov, 2012

    I sliced the lemons as thins as possible and let them sit overnight with the sugar and processed the heck out of them in the cuisinart and still had rather chewy tough flecks of rind in the final bars. Also it was super tart, could have used more sugar. My best bet is, it could have spent another 24hours in the fridge macerating with the sugar before being cooked. Given all the rave reviews here, I guess it depends on the kind of lemons you use.

  • BTrixie 8 Jun, 2012

    I actually cheated and did the lemon/sugar about 2 hours before I baked these and they turned out fine. I love this recipe! Will definitely make them again- I just need to reduce the sugar next time around!

  • movimiento 28 Jan, 2012

    I found all that lemon rind too overwhelming although it was a good twist on the usual lemon bars I make. I decided to just grate one of the peels of lemon and added walnuts to the crust which I did with all the time in lemon bars. I also cut out 1 whole cup of sugar! Much better!

  • eva7g 17 Sep, 2011

    amaziiiiing ... us and our friends LOVED it .. i used the pastry blender instead of the food processor to make the crust ...

  • Jillr55 24 Jul, 2011

    yes, a stick of butter is 1/2 cup.

  • KarlaMonty 23 Jul, 2011

    I'm Canadian...what measurement is a "stick of butter"...1/2 cup?

  • mpoulin 21 Jul, 2011

    These were absolutely delicious with bits of the lemon and pure lemon juice!! YUMMY!!! I only baked the final bake for 15 minutes and it was set but will let bake for the full 20 minutes to set more. Highly recommend!!

  • alicia_i 17 Jul, 2010

    These lemon bars didn't turn out the way I expected. The lemon filling was very thick. The crust is too buttery. I would use half the amount needed.

  • mykele 20 May, 2010

    I may be late in making a comment about this recipe but just have to respond.
    as I have just made the "bars". I was expecting lemon bars not a thin
    ultra chewy outcome. I followed the directions to the letter and ended
    up with a tough textured crust and a thin gummy layer of the lemon
    filling. It was labor intensive, expensive and a recipe that will not
    be repeated in my kitchen. I am no novice and do many different recipes
    in my kitchen-lab. Mykele

  • alishaandrea 10 May, 2010

    Yum Yum! Made this recipe for an Easter Dessert and family and friends loved them. I used fresh lemons but peeled some of the zest away to even out the bitterness.

  • pattimelt 4 May, 2010

    Just made these. I didn't have meyer lemons, so used 1 lemon and 1 lime. I cut away most of the pith of the lemon and some of the lime, used the peel. They are still very bitter. However, I think if you used the zest and the meat of the lemon/lime, they would be exceptional.

  • ArtistaRaquel 3 May, 2010

    I forgot to let the crust cool before adding the lemon mixture, but it doesn't seem to have harmed it at all. I used "normal" lemons available at the grocery store, and it did turn out a little bitter. It's definitely edible, but I'm not thrilled with the texture. Next time I'll use the lemon zest, remove the pith, and then slice the lemons.

  • Whitebow 3 May, 2010

    I have made these bars and unfortunately, they turned out bitter. The pith of the lemon has a bitterness that even soaking in sugar does not remove. I recommend a more traditional lemon bar recipe. No one would eat more than one of these so I had to throw the rest away.

  • mykele 1 May, 2010

    Ladies, I think that cc94115 likes this recipe VERY WELL or the site has
    hiccups...7 postings is a bit much. I'll just have to try this recipe as I love
    lemony recipes. Thank you all for helpful comments...can't make a
    mistake now. Mykele

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • cc94115 10 Mar, 2009

    This is the BEST Lemon Bar recipe EVER. the first time i made it, it turned out perfect. Tastes great, with the right balance of sweet and tart, and I personally love the little pieces of peel...it looks real and not out of a box. Mine did not turn out bitter at all, but I used Meyer Lemons, which have a thinner peel and pith. OMG - you cannot go back to any other lemon bar recipe after this one. Followed it exactly.

  • ehood3 17 Jan, 2009

    This is my favorite recipe of all time...so far. I've made it a lot and most people go nuts over them, including me.

  • bakingqueens 18 Oct, 2008

    This was delicious, despite some goofs! As it happened, we saw AFTER we started cooking that we had 1 lemon and 1 orange (which at 1st glance, appeared to be a lemon...) We used it anyways (but peeled them both with a vegetable peeler) and loved the way the sweetness of the orange balanced out the tartness of the lemon. We definitely recommend making this mistake! To even out the consistency, we blended the lemon mixture in the blender before cooking it and this worked. Final Verdict: Excellent!

  • bakingqueens 18 Oct, 2008

    This was delicious, despite some goofs! As it happened, we saw AFTER we started cooking that we had 1 lemon

  • bakingqueens 18 Oct, 2008

    This was delicious, despite some goofs! As it happened, we saw AFTER we started cooking that we had 1 lemon

  • byhookorcook 9 Aug, 2008

    I went to an excellent reception for a chamber music concert in NYC and these bars were served. The guests loved them, they were devoured. One person even described their deliciousness as being "an orgasm and a half." I couldn't even try one because they were gone so fast. So, I am planning to cook the bars myself!

  • paperprincess424 7 Jul, 2008

    I feel like the peel made the bars really bitter, but I loved the crust. The second time I made them I peeled my lemons then continued on with the recipe.

  • tntmade 4 Jul, 2008

    My guests didn't like this cookie at all. Everything else disappeared, but these were hardly touched. My kids said they didn't like the consistency (very chewy) and the occassional bitterness from the peel.

  • momom 16 Jun, 2008

    My family did not like the consistency of this bar. They felt that it tasted like it had coconut in it. The taste was good - but the consistency is not nice.

  • neensters 9 Jun, 2008

    2 1/4 sticks of butter = 9 oz = 18 Tablespoons

  • liteby 7 Jun, 2008

    1/4 stick = 4 tablespoons

  • neensters 4 Jun, 2008

    One stick of butter is equivalent to 4 oz or one quarter pound. As a pastry chef, I work with weights and measures all the time...

  • jackiejohns 4 Jun, 2008

    One stick of butter, in Canada, is equal to 1/2 pound.

  • Nphin 4 Jun, 2008

    Can some one confirm the amount of butter in a stick
    in Canada we buy it by the pound and I'm not sure of the conversion I think 1 stick is
    1/2 cup or 4 oz. Please advise

  • ShirleyWalkowicz 14 Apr, 2008

    MMMMMM........Yummy!
    Shirley W.

  • lovetotrynewrecipes 20 Mar, 2008

    Thank you web staff for correcting amount of butter. I made these twice. The first time I used regular lemons. The cookies were SO bitter that I threw them out. The second time I used MEYER lemons ( a sweeter version of lemon) and processed the lemon-sugar mixture first until lemon pieces were very fine before adding the eggs. They tasted great (no bitterness) even though they were somewhat overdone. Because of this I would recommend decreasing oven temp to 375 if you use a dark coated pan.

  • zulay 14 Dec, 2007

    this recipe says 2 1/4 cold butter, but does not say cup or oz.

    thank you, I used 1 cup 1/4

    zulay

  • zulay 14 Dec, 2007

    this recipe says 2 1/4 cold butter, but does not say cup or oz.

    thank you, I used 1 cup 1/4

    zulay

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