Grandma Sylvia’s Lemon Bars

My mother made the world’s best lemon bars.  Tart, sweet, and rich, every body loves Grandma Sylvia’s lemon bars.  My daughter inherited the lemon bar gene, and her lemon bars are as good as her grandma’s.  I have always thought of the lemon bars as supremely high in fat – after all, the recipe starts out with two sticks of butter.  But after searching for and making several low fat lemon bars (2-4 grams of fat/bar depending upon the size), which were ok but not great, I decided to try and figure out just how many fat grams my mom’s lemon bars had in all their deliciousness.  They only have 3 grams/bar!  Oh my heart be still.  Why am I struggling to find substitutes? The trick is that my mother cut the bars into relatively small pieces, which you need to do because 1) they look better on a cookie plate when they’re not a big slab, and 2) they’re so rich you can’t eat a big slab, anyway…although I confess to eating more than one bar at times.  So here, without further adieu, are Grandma Sylvia’s Lemon Bars.

Grandma Sylvia’s Lemon Bars

1 cup (1/2 lb) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ cup lemon juice
1 ¾ cups sugar
¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 beaten eggs
confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling (optional)

To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350. Spray a jelly roll pan (10” x 15”) with cooking spray.  Place butter, flour, and ½ cup confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl.  Mix with your fingers until it the ingredients are well-blended and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and slightly up the sides.  Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

To make the topping:   Make the topping while the crust is baking. Mix the ingredients (lemon juice through eggs) with a mixer, beating until smooth. Pour the lemon mixture over the warm crust.  Return pan to oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden and the center is set.  Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar if you are using it.  Cool pan completely on a wire rack. Cut into 64 bars with 3 grams of fat/bar.


These freeze very well, which is a good thing, because when they are in the freezer I am less likely to walk by and grab one.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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