• Whole Lemon Bars - On Sugar Mountain
Whole Lemon Bars
  • Whole Lemon Bars - On Sugar Mountain

A cautionary tale I shall spin for you today,

of luscious lemon bars, guarded by the gods of bakingdom.

Do not attempt ‘lest the proper equipment is at hand

or you shall return from your kitchen empty handed and of broken heart.

(RIP my wee  little chopper, I barely knew ye)

and think not that a mixer can do the job of a food processor

unless ye enjoy chewing on lemon rinds.

Whole Lemon Bars

Hi there.

If you weren’t totally confused by the monologue above and are still reading, these lemon bars sort of kicked my butt yesterday.

And ruined my little mini food processor.

And tasted super good but had weird bits of lemon rind floating in what would’ve been heavenly lemon custard.

Why did I feel like turning it into a legendary tale?

Ummm….well weren’t you tired of all the alliterations?

Whole Lemon Bars - On Sugar Mountain

…or do you love my little lines about luscious lemons?


Okay. I’ll do my best here to be as normal as possible. These lemon bars are from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, and my curiosity was peaked in that you use an entire lemon in it. Not a Meyer Lemon, just a regular ole’ grocery store lemon. But the essential key to the recipe was the use of a food processor.

Sigh. I once had a food processor. He was tiny but faithful, and always managed to get the job done. Until last night.

Then the lemons ganged up on him and he crumpled under their crazy lemon strength. And stickiness.

Whole Lemon Bars - On Sugar Mountain

I know that the food processor I was most likely supposed to use was a full-sized one, ak..a the beautiful cuisinart ones that are HUGE and cost a bundle and do not fit in my college apartment. Unless I just start sleeping on the floor and surrender my bed up to blogging gear.

(I’ve already given up my desk to you blogosphere! Let me keep my bed! For now anyway.)

Right. Okay. Being normal again.

The sugar/lemon mixture just jammed my processor until it flat out gave up on me. I suppressed the need to shout out a few profanities and decided that I’d finish them off with my hand mixer.

Whole Lemon Bars - On Sugar Mountain

Friends, what a food processor does a hand mixer most certainly does not.

They baked up beautifully, albeit a little toasty around the edges,  and the custard is indeed legendary. If I ever manage to get a proper food processor I sort of just want to whip up the custard. And eat it for dinner. And breakfast. And just forever.

But, as I bit into one and enjoyed the creamy, citrusy custard, I suddenly felt something chewy. And not the good chewy.

No, this was just one of many tiny, almost imperceptible pieces of lemon rind suspended in my legendary lemon bars. Like tiny little lemon rind ninjas ready to ruin my dessert.


So, I can tell you that you absolutely must make these lemon bars. They are phenomenal. But make sure you have the right equipment. I’ve included the recipe completely as is in the cookbook, and if you own a proper-sized food processor, you should be in lemon heaven in no time :)

Whole Lemon Bars - On Sugar Mountain

As for me, besides wondering how weird I came across in that earlier part of the post, I plan on beginning some very exciting Valentine’s Day-themed desserts. 😀

Happy Baking!


Whole Lemon Bars

from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

for the crust:

1 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks

for the filling:

1 small/medium lemon
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks
4 eggs
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take an 8 in square baking pan and line with two overlapping pieces of parchment paper. Make them like long rectangles so that they have “handles” hanging out of the pan that you can use to pull the lemon bars out later. Spray the paper with cooking spray.

2. Make the crust: Blend flour, sugar and salt together in bowl of food processor. Add butter and pulse until mixture looks powdery, but if you pinch it it holds its shape.

3. Turn the dough crumbs out into the prepared baking pan and press dough evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack. Leave oven on.

4. Make the filling: FIRST check your lemon. Cut it in half and look at the rind. If the white part is thick (wider than 1/4 inch) , remove the skin from half the lemon and discard before proceeding. If it is thinner than 1/4 inch, leave as is.

5. Cut your lemon halves into thin rings and discard all seeds. Toss the lemon slices in the bowl of the food processor and add the sugar. Process until the lemon is thoroughly pureed, about 2 minutes.

6. Add the butter and run the machine until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, cornstarch, and salt and again run the machine until everything is well combined.

7. Pour the lemon mixture over the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the filling is just set. It should only wiggle slightly.

8. Let the pan cool completely either on a wire rack of in the fridge. Gently cut around the outside of the parchment paper to loosen the bars, then carefully use the parchment paper ‘sling” to remove them from the pan to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.

Copyright © 2013 Jessica Gonzalez | On Sugar Mountain

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