I remember hot Georgia Summers sitting on my parents back porch swing sipping Lemonade from a certain southern chicken place, hehe. We ate lemon pie and put lemons in our pitchers of sweet tea. It was everywhere. Something about that tartness just took away, even if for only a split second, the hell that was a hot and muggy Ga summer. (Seriously, if you have never felt one, count yourself lucky. Hell is 20 degree coolers.)
My favorite Lemony treat growing up was the Lemon Bar. You know what I am talking about, those served up at bake sales Lemon Bars drowned in confectioners sugar and sold by the Great Great Great grandmother of your 15th cousin 2 times removed. They were wonderful! The perfect balance between sock your mama sour and kiss me baby sweet.
Now, even though they are my favorite, in all honesty I have been afraid to make them, ever!!! Why? Simple, you have a memory of how things are supposed to taste and if you cannot hit that mark you know, no matter how freaking awesome it may taste, it still won't be good enough. It is just how childhood memories are with us. That and it is a well known fact is it hard to find that perfect balance of sweet and sour.
Well, here I am, a baker. No denying it now. I can still throw the chef title to the side because well, I am no chef. Yet I have stopped fighting the Baker title. (After a cook book and 2 food blog, you kind of just accept.) That's cool though but with that means coming up with new stuff and well frankly...I think people are tired of me posting my lemon pie recipe over and over again. Time to take a step to the next level.
Where do I start? No idea. I have a Lemon Pie filling recipe...Um, everyone has that. I need more. Lemon bars are than pie. So...get cooking or not cooking. Gotta start with a bottom to these bars, a crust. Cannot have lemon bars without the bar part. After thinking on it for some time I did figure there was something in my list of recipes I could use but it wasn't exactly conventional.
So, what to use as a crust? Well, will thank my hubbies Irish influence...I jumped over to my Irish Shortbread. I mean come on! What better bottom for a kick butt filling than a kick butt shortbread? Moist, rich and just the right sweet savory mix to balance out the tartness of a lemon filling without a) over powering the sweet flavor or b) drowning out the sweet.
The filling....Well, it just kind of happened. I researched some stuff on line, read up on some articles and said...forget this! Let's try this. Basically I threw something together and held my breath. Did it work? Well considering my husbands eyes rolled into the back of his head with a moan when he took a bite, a hard reaction to get, and my kids devoured them, even though 2 hate lemon lol, I would say...Yes.
Hubby seems to think I have a sixth sense with baking. If I bake it, they will come. Now, this is not a normal looking recipe for the filling but trust me, it is amazing and worth the extra few things.
Anywho, enough rample. You want the recipe. Here you go!
- 1 Batch Of Irish Shortbread Dough
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
- 1/2 Cup White Vinegar
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Extract
- 1 Teaspoon Strawberry Extract
- Confectioners Sugar for Dusting
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Spray 9x13 Pan with Pam Baking Spray.
- Make Irish Shortbread dough and press into the bottom of the pan evenly.
- Parbake for 25 minutes.
- While that is baking mix your eggs, sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, lemon extract & strawberry extract until frothy.
- Remove parbaked crust from oven.
- Pour lemon mix over top of the crust.
- Bake until set. (20-30 Minutes.)
- Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
- Dust with Confectioners sugar.
- Cut into squares.
- Serve & enjoy!
I know what you are thinking. Why should I use vinegar, lemon extract and strawberry extract when I could just use lemon juice. I know it seems off but it does work. This gives you this wonderful balance of tart and sweet that make sit more like tasting a fresh lemon than anything else I have tasted.