Author: Luisa Perkins
•1:17 PM

People, when you see me posting recipes a few days in a row, you probably suspect that something else is occupying my WEUs.

Your suspicions are correct. Tristi Pinkston is hosting a writing challenge, and I am on board for the next three weeks. But what follows should more than console you.

If I am going to eat a lemon square, it had better be good and lemony, and not just some vaguely yellow-tasting thing. And there should be a goodly, thick layer of topping as well. I've put a lot of effort into developing the ideal lemon square; I'm sure you'll figure out some way to thank me. Props go to Ann Hodgman for introducing me to the Sourtastic Secret Ingredient.*

Sourtastic Lemon Squares
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup lemon juice (or lime, if you're so inclined)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons flour
3/8 teaspoon Sourtastic Secret Ingredient*
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line an 8x8-inch pan with two 8x12-inch pieces of waxed paper placed one on top of the other and perpendicular to one another, like a Greek cross. You should have a double layer of waxed paper on the bottom of the pan, with a single layer of paper extending up and over the sides. Butter the paper-lined pan bottom.

Whirl up the crust ingredients in a food processor until they are a fine-textured meal. Pour the meal into the pan and press it down firmly all over to form an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes. The crust should be golden, not pale; if it's pale, it will turn gummy once you put the filling on.

While the crust is baking, put all the topping ingredients in the food processor and pulse for a few seconds. Once the crust is done, turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Whirl the lemon mixture around in the food processor for a final few seconds in case it has settled, then pour it carefully over the crust. Put the pan back in the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the topping is set. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Don't cheat; you'll be sorry.

Once the squares are cool, run a butter knife around between the waxed paper and the pan sides. Now remove the whole batch at once by carefully pulling up on the waxed paper edges. Set the whole thing on a cutting board, cut into squares, and dust with powdered sugar.

Keep them in the fridge. That way, your three-year-old is less likely to pull a chair up, sneak inside without detection, and snarf them all. Plus, they're scrumptious when chilled.

If you're all really good and don't abandon me while I write hard for the next few weeks, I might be persuaded to post my Dulce de Leche Squares recipe sometime soon.

* Sourtastic Secret Ingredient = Citrus salt, a.k.a. citric acid. You can buy it at Middle Eastern specialty stores, or you can stock up on it during canning season (late summer), like I do. It's used to process tomatoes for long-term storage. One time I was checking out at the supermarket, and the cashier said, "Boy, you must can a lot of tomatoes." Nope. But I would never want to be without the option of lemon squares.
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On 18/9/07 , painted maypole said...

I think I am gaining weight just reading your site. I love lemon bars, but have never made them. I may have to change that soon. These sound SO good!

On 18/9/07 , Kimberly said...

Oh my...I adore lemony lemon bars. Thanks for sharing the secret!

On 18/9/07 , Adriana Velez said...

Ho ho ho, we love lemon squares. No, we LERV lemon squares. And citric acid? You wicked woman, you.

Patrick's pasta sauce sounds wonderful, too. Gee, when you post the recipes you sure pull out some real gems.

On 18/9/07 , Jenna said...

I LOVE LEMON SQUARES! We make them a lot over here. With two minor adjustments: I add lemon zest to the crust and the filling, and I add coconut to the filling. It makes them extra chewy, and I love coconut in everything.

BTW, I hate it when you're busy doing challenges that keep you from your blog!

On 18/9/07 , so grateful to be Mormon! said...

i'm with you ... if i'm gonna eat one of those, it has to be a real yummy one, not just something that looks like a lemon square. it has to worth the eats. that was really cute what you said about keeping the child away from the temptation of sampling :) kathleen

On 18/9/07 , Jen said...

Oh yum!!! Thank you!!!! What is the writing challenge? And are you doing nanowrimo this year?

On 18/9/07 , deb said...

This should give you some idea of just how preoccupied I am by my kitchen renovation. I read your posting and as I looked at the photo, the only thing I could focus on was your countertop.

On 18/9/07 , Tristi Pinkston said...

Oh, man, these look so good. I will 100% be trying these.

And you can also get citric acid at the health food store, too. I get mine in the bulk section because it's an ingredient in lotion.

On 19/9/07 , dawn said...

I love lemon squares, and find that many lemon things are just not lemony enough. I have some secret ingredient in my spice cupboard. Thanks for the recipe.

On 19/9/07 , Brillig said...

Looks yum! And good luck with the writing challenge! (Not that you need luck, you brilliant thing, you.)

On 19/9/07 , Dapoppins said...

and here I was thinking I could just buy them! Those look so much yummier.

On 20/9/07 , rjlight said...

hmmm, I wonder how lime bars would taste -- never made those. I seem to be the only one who appreciates lemon bars so I rarely make them here. But I LOVE them

On 21/9/07 , Sirdar said...

I see Dawn thanked you for the recipe. I guess that means I get to try them out. Oh...sometimes its hard being the husband of a good cook....

On 21/9/07 , Candace Salima (LDS Nora Roberts) said...

Wow, those sound delicious. You're tempting me from my healthy eating mode. I'm 36 hours without caffeine now.

On 21/9/07 , Syar said...

When I think of lemon squares, I think of Kim Possible cause her nanna made awesome ones that the blue coloured villain stole as he ran away from his latest defeat.


On 22/9/07 , Josi said...

Dang you Luisa. I don't need anything else to distract me from the challenge I am completely failing. But, I guess I can't be too mad. I absolutely adore Lemon Bars--especially if they don't end up tasting eggy. And I have citric acid--use it all the time though I've never used it in baked goods.

On 3/10/07 , Joeprah said...

Man, they look good and sound easy enough but I am sure I will mess it up, can you send me some?