Gingered Lemon Bars

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

“I can’t wait for you to get here Elise. We can cook! We can make pies and cakes and cookies and more yummy things,” exclaimed my young friend Alden as we were talking on the phone last week.

Between Easter, a Patriots Day parade and museum trips, we finally got a chance to do some baking. Reilly (8) and her sister Alden (6) helped me make scrumptious lemon bars that have candied ginger in the crust from a recipe in a 1987 issue of Gourmet magazine.

To make the bars first you make and pre-bake the shortbread crust with specks of candied ginger. Then you make the lemon filling, pour into the pre-baked crust, and bake again, until the filling has set. The original recipe called for sprinkling the whole thing with powdered sugar, which we didn’t feel was necessary.

Gingered Lemon Bars Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 36 lemon bars

Ingredients

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Reilly grating the lemon

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

 

Method

1 Pre-bake the crust. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter. Add 1/3 cup of sifted powdered sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in half a teaspoon of the lemon zest, the ground ginger, the crystallized ginger, and a pinch of salt. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour in batches, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating after each addition. Continue to beat the crust batter until it is well combined.

2 Spread the crust batter evenly over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until browned lightly around the edges.

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3 While the crust is baking, whisk together the eggs, the lemon juice, the granulated sugar, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest, 3 Tbsp of flour, and the baking powder in a medium sized bowl. Whisk until well blended.

4 Pour the lemon batter over the pre-baked crust. Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden. If you want, sift a little additional powdered sugar over the top. Let the lemon bars cool in the pan on a rack. Cut it into 36 pieces.

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Reilly showing off the lemon bars.

Showing 4 of 12 Comments

  • Jackie

    I loved these! I sprinkled them with blueberries before the 2nd baking and it was DELICIOUS and beautiful to have the two colors. Some of them exploded when bit (leading to some blueberry on the cabinets), but it was well worth it!

  • Ana

    These are the best lemon bars I’ve ever had! The recipe creates a bar with a perfect texture, almost like a short- bread cookie except the top has a layer of lemon. My friends never had lemon bars because the thought of a citrus and sour ingredient in a dessert did not catch their fancy, tried these and they loved them. These truly are amazing!

  • Shamima

    Hi! I was just looking through the internet for recipes on my Food’s project for school – and let me tell you, i’ve fallen i love with your site. Its simply amazing! :) I have a question about the bars though – do you need to butter the pan before pouring the crust batter in? I know you didn’t write it, but i’m just double checking because some recipes for lemon bars say that you need to butter the baking dish…. Thank you for sharing these amazing recipes with us! You’re awesome!

    The crust has a lot of butter in it, which melts as the bars cook, so there is no need to butter the pan. ~Elise

  • Olivia

    Hi Elise, I followed your advice about the baking powder and they turned out perfectly! I made them for afternoon tea with friends along with your oatmeal raisin cookies and they were gobbled up! I love your blog it is so special, such beautiful pictures; everything looks so good, I want to make it all! Thanks so much for sharing it!!

  • Olivia

    Hi, this recipe looks gorgeous. Just wondering if I can just use ordinary baking powder? I had a look in the supermarket today for double acting but couldn’t find any. Can’t wait to make these!!
    Thanks

    Good question. Single acting baking powder reacts to moisture to begin its leavening, so once you mix it in your wet mixture, you have to work fast. Don’t let the mixture sit around, get it all in the oven quickly. ~Elise

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