Ask kids if they like lemons and they will say ‘nah’ but ask them if they like a lemon bar and ‘yeah’. Lemon bars however are not popular to kids alone, even adults love it.
This sweet and tangy bar is surprisingly good for snacks and deserts. It goes well with any kind of juice, coffee, and tea. Your beverage can be hot or cold and it will go well with your lemon bar.
I ask myself these questions that I am sharing now because you might be a lemon bar lover just like me. “Is it easy to do home-made lemon bars? Can I store lemon bars for quite some time or even freeze it? Do frozen lemon bars go stale when thawed?
After some research and doing it in my kitchen, I can now share with you what I have learned about lemon bars which I hope will be helpful.
Preparing for the Perfect Lemon Bars
Preparing home-made lemon bars is not a tedious job specially if you are looking forward to eating them soon. It is in fact very easy and enjoyable to make your own lemon bars and you have the freedom if you want to tweak the flavoring a bit so you will not have to eat a lemon bar that taste commercial.
Here is the list of ingredients and things you will need, and even if you are not a seasoned cook or baker you can follow these simple steps to bake your home-made lemon bars for just about 45 minutes.
Prepare a mixing bowl and a baking pan or dish. You can use any shape and size baking pan if it will fit your oven and has enough room for the lemon bar to get cooked beautifully.
Prepare the following ingredients at room temperature.
For shortbread crust:
- ½ cup of butter
- ¼ cup of fine sugar
- ¼ teaspoon of salt (for dashing salt only)
- 1 cup of flour (all-purpose)
For lemon bar filling:
- 1 cup of granulated or regular sugar
- Zest or rind from fresh lemons
- 3 tablespoon of fresh lemon extract or juice
- 3 tablespoon of flour (all-purpose)
- 2 large or medium eggs
- ½ tablespoon of baking powder
While preparing your ingredients, you may start pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then prepare the baking pan by greasing it or placing a baking paper to have everything ready. Greasing the pan or placing a baking paper on it will prevent the lemon dough from sticking on the pan.
Remember that the zest is not the same as the peel of the lemon but the colorful outermost layer of the peel. Here are tips on how to rind a lemon.
How to Zest a Lemon
Zesting a lemon is not that difficult and remember to use fresh lemons. Fresh lemon zest gives a natural taste and tang to lemon bars.
To rind or zest your lemons, you can use a Microplane or fine grater. In case you do not have both, you can still make lemon zest with a peeler or a sharp kitchen knife.
Carefully grate or rind the outermost layer of the lemon with your peeler, knife or grater and avoid peeling on the whitish layer because it will make the zest bitter. However, using the grater or peeler will help you make the best zest because it can only rind thin coating of the peel.
You can also free yourself with all the grating if you would like, you can buy lemon zest at the supermarket but be sure to check its freshness.
Making Perfect Lemon Bars
The ingredients given above will make a good 9 servings of lemon bars. You simply need to double the amount of the ingredients and bake it in batches if you want to make more servings.
Instructions for Making Lemon Bars
Going back to our instructions earlier, you have all the ingredients ready, you already pre-heated the oven and have your baking pan set so here is our next steps:
- Prepare the crust mixture. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a mixing bowl. You can use a dough mixer to make it easier for you.
- Coat the mixture on the baking pan to create the crust. Be sure to flatten it evenly on the pan.
- Bake the crust layer for ten minutes then let it cool for a while.
- Make the lemon filling. Mix all the lemon filling ingredients until solid ingredients are dissolved and the mixture becomes creamy.
- Spread the filling on the baked crust and bake it for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Take it out of the oven when and let it cool.
- Sprinkle a dash of sugar on the top to taste, slice it and serve.
There you have it! Your home-made lemon bars. The next question will be, ”How do you keep the leftovers, should you just keep it chilled or freeze it?”. Do not worry as we have it covered for you, simply follow our guide on how to freeze lemon bars.
Guide to Freezing Lemon Bars
Some said that OCPD type of people has everything planned carefully ahead of time and it is truly helpful but freezing those lemon bars need not take much of your time planning because it is very easy to do.
Nevertheless, we understand that not everything can last forever like a lemon bar. We can keep it frozen up to some time but it to has its pros and cons and we will walk you through it.
Pros to Freezing Lemon Bars
- Lemon and sugar are also used as preservatives, so the lemon bar has an extended shelf life of six months when frozen.
- Frozen lemon bars need not be thawed and can be easily thawed after a few minutes.
- Frozen lemon bars can be served right out of the freezer or re-heated.
- Thawed lemon bar does not go stale or change texture.
- Lemon bars do not become freezer burnt.
Cons to Freezing Lemon Bars
- Frozen sugar on lemon bars can become gooey so you may add sugar only upon serving.
- If not properly packaged, lemon bars become sticky after thawing.
- Others find packing it properly before freezing it is a bit tedious.
How To Freeze Lemon Bars
Freezing a lemon bar is easy-peasy but freezing a bunch of lemon bars could be a task to some people. Here are our tips for you.
- If you baked your own lemon bars, do not sprinkle sugar on top unless you are about to eat it. A sugary lemon bar when frozen becomes gooey after thawing.
- Leave the lemon bars at room temperature to cool down before packing it for storage, and never pre-freeze them before wrapping.
- It will be easier to take it and thaw it after freezing if you wrapped it individually for freezing.
- Carefully pile individually wrapped lemon bars in a single container or baking pan for freezing.
How To Thaw Lemon Bars
Frozen lemon bars do not lose its flavor after thawing though it may become a bit gooey due to the sugar content. Also, there is no special technique for thawing frozen lemon bars but here are the simple steps for you:
- Unwrap each lemon bar after taking it out from the freezer and set it on a tray or plate.
- Let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to thaw.
- You may also thaw it overnight while in the chiller section of your fridge.
- You can serve it after thawing or you may reheat it for 15 seconds in your microwave.
Can I keep thawed lemon bars in the fridge?
As long as it has not reached its six months shelf life and does not smell rancid or feel slimy, you can still keep it in your fridge after thawing because it is well preserved by the sugar and lemon ingredients in it.
Do I need to wrap lemon bars separately?
Wrapping lemon bars separately is a must for those that already have sugar coating or topping in it to prevent the bars from sticking together. It will also not look messy or deformed after thawing it.
Do I need to place individually wrapped lemon bars in a freezer bag?
Individually wrapped lemon bars keep it from sticking together and piling each lemon bar carefully in a freezer bag or any food container before keeping in the freezer will mean another layer of protection for your lemon bars as well as, it will make your freezer look organized.
We have provided a list of ingredients and steps to help you make your own lemon bar. We also shared with you the best practices on how to freeze it. However, you can tweak the ingredients to your liking or change the freezing process to suit your needs. For example, you can use smashed Graham crackers as lemon bars crust.