Earlier this week I asked my friends on Facebook which holiday recipes they wanted to see (you’re following FoodieCrush right?!!?.) It came to a tie between Meyer Lemon Bars and a slow-cooker Christmas Eve dinner. So I made you both. We’re starting with dessert first, as every meal really should. That slow-cooker dinner? Look for it on Sunday, a little bonus holiday post.
I took on a gardening adventure this year. See, I live in the mountains at the edge of a desert. Some wouldn’t think of Utah as a desert, but it is. The summers are so hot the chickens lay hard boiled eggs and the winters are colder than a witch’s kiss. (You can thank my mother in law for that vision.)
So when I decided to attempt to grow my favorite Meyer lemon tree in this non-Florida/Southern California landscape, I was pretty much tempting fate.
My two little trees/shrubs/bushes did produce about 6 lemons. Which makes each lemon worth about $34. Which makes for some rather expensive Meyer Lemon Bars. But totally worth it going from MY farm to MY table. And of course, you can find them a lot cheaper in the grocery store.
Now, thanks to snow on the ground and that darn witch and her kiss, I’ve moved these babies indoors and I must say, they are happy, happy, happy. I even have a new greenie on the stem just hoping to one day meet it’s destiny with a vodka martini. Shaken, not stirred thank you very much.
I decided to harvest a few of my coveted lemons to showcase in one of my favorite holiday recipes, turning my classic Lemon Bars into Meyer Lemon Bars. What’s the diff? The lemon of course!
Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular store bought Eurekas. The taste is somewhat like a cross between a lemon and an orange.
I started making this recipe by the time I was about 12 years old and I made it each and every Christmas until I hit the age of about 30. I haven’t made it in a while, but have had such an itch, I just had to scratch.
A few recipe notes:
These lemon bars are a little more crackly on the top than some recipes I’ve seen. After doing some research, I think its due to the amount of sugar used in a recipe. Personally, I like this hint of crispness on top and bottom to balance out the sweet yellow custard in the middle, so I’m keeping it.
While some recipes call for the shortbread crust to go up the sides of the pan (about ½” seems pretty standard) I prefer less crust, so I just press it into the bottom of the pan. But you can certainly do either to your liking.
If you can’t find Meyer lemons in your grocery store, and don’t happen to have one in your neighborhood that’s producing fruit at just the perfect reachable height (hey, I’m not suggesting anything…) sub half of the lemon juice with fresh orange juice and you’ll see what I mean. Or go ahead and use regular lemons for extra tartness.
Oven times vary, so set your timer about 5 minutes earlier than the 20 I recommend and check to see if your filling is set. A toothpick should come out mostly clean when stuck in the middle of the custard filling.
Allow these to fully cool before cutting. They’re demanding that way.
Reynolds Wrap makes a non-stick aluminum foil I use to line my pan with so I can lift the bars out to cut and then I don’t have to use any extra lube to line the cookies.
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
- 2 cups plus ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 1 heaping tablespoon grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9" X 13" baking pan by lining it with criss crossed pieces of aluminum foil that have an overhang of an inch or two. Spray with cooking spray unless using non-stick aluminum foil.
- Cream the powdered sugar and butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat on medium speed until mixed. Press into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
- Beat the eggs, sugar, Meyer lemon juice and lemon zest in a large bowl either by hand or with a mixer. Sift the reserved ½ cup flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix well.
- Pour over the hot crust and return to the oven to bake for another 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness at 20 minutes, and add on time as needed.
- Cool completely before cutting, then dust with powdered sugar and serve.
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