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I recently went on a cook book spree. One of my purchases was Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich. It’s a cookbook entirely of cookies and bars. I’ve been reading it at night like it’s a novel I couldn’t put down.

The problem is that I couldn’t decide which recipe to make first. So I told Grace to open the book to any page and pick a recipe. She choose Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0. Ok, her actual first pick was Almond Hemp Seed Cookies. But I was sure I couldn’t find hemp seeds at the commissary. So I made her choose again.

I was jazzed. In the intro to the recipe Ms. Medrich claims that some people find her bars too tart. To me that’s a challenge, since I love lemon so much. Plus, I’m always on the hunt for a good lemon bar recipe. I hate it when the lemon tastes waxy or artificial or when the crust is heavy (admit it, you’ve been to a party where there are a bunch of plates with pie crust on the bottom and the lemon topping scraped off). The recipe is simple. I can see why some people find them too tart, but I think they are perfect. And the crust has good flavor too, which is hard to come by. Go ahead and try ’em.

Very Tangy Lemon Bars 2.0


  • 7 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 teas. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teas. salt
  • 1 cup unbleached flour


  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teasp. finely grated lemon zest (use organic or wash your lemons throughly)
  • 1/2 cup strained lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350, move rack to bottom third of oven. Line an 8×8 metal baking dish with foil (I sprayed my with Pam, just to be safe).
  2. To make the crust: in medium bowl combine the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Press evenly into bottom of pan, bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until edges and center are brown.
  3. To make the topping: Stir together sugar and flour until well mixed. Whisk in eggs. Stir in lemon zest and juice.
  4. When crust is ready, turn oven down to 300. Pour filling over hot crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the middle barely jiggles when the pan is touched.
  5. Let cool completely in pan, then use foil to remove bars to cutting board. Cut and store, in fridge for several days. NOTE: Don’t try to carry the bars very far on the foil. I tried and half my bars ended up on the floor.

Yep, I licked the bowl. Tart!

Perfect crust- filling ratio.