Recipe 11: Lemon Squares

Sam needed to bake something to take to her mom’s for Christmas so I invited her over to make lemon squares. I’ve never even eaten a lemon square, but they look good.

DISCLAIMER: My kitchen is a mess.

Sam wasn’t my assistant this time. We were each baking one. I did make her do the juicing, though.

Step 1: Gather ingredients for crust: flour, powdered sugar, salt, butter (not shown). x2

Step 2: Grate frozen butter.

Looks like cheese.  That’s 1 1/2 sticks!

Step 3: Whisk together ingredients and add butter.

The following 3 pictures were taken by an 11-year-old:

Step 4: Mix with hands.

This part was tricky because if your hands are too warm it will melt the butter. Even after mixing this up, it’s still half powdery. Is that right?

Step 5: Press into 9×13 pan (which was buttered/parchment papered and not photographed)

Step 6: Freeze crust for 15 minutes.

Check out my face here. Total concentration.

Step 7: Gather ingredients for filling: eggs, flour, sugar, salt, milk.

Step 8: MIX IT UP.

Step 9: Add lemon juice. 

Step 10: Bake crust. Shit. We forgot to pre-heat the oven. 

Finally, after waiting and waiting…

Step 11: Reduce oven temp to 325. Pour filling onto hot crust.

This was nervewracking. Because we’d forgotten to pre-heat the oven, our filling was sitting for a long time and we had to do this quickly.

Step 12: Bake until filling is set, about 18 minutes.

I was worried again because I tested it at 16 minutes and 18 minutes (see the fork holes?) and it wasn’t done. I pulled them out at 20 minutes.

Step 13: Grab parchment paper, remove from pan, cool on wire racks. 

This is my favorite part. The parchment overhang is genius. However, the thing was so gooey it grossed me out.

Step 14: Cut into 24 squares. 

Sam had trouble with this. She ended up with 18.

Step 15: Powder-sugar the shit out of the top. Make powdered sugar a verb.

My sifter jammed again (thanks, IKEA) so I tapped it with the knife. Safe.

Step 16: Take a tart picture. 

They are so tart, but not gross! Delicious!

Link to original recipe

Yields: 24
I got: 24
Sam got: 18

Start time: 10:00
End time: 1:00 (3 hours)
Martha’s estimated time: 45 minutes (well…we did forget to pre-heat the oven)

What did I learn?

  • Lemon rind tastes terrible.
  • Baking times vary.
  • Plan the cutting ahead so you actually get 24 (sorry to throw you under the bus, Sam.)

What do I need to learn?

  • Why do I always have to cut time from baking cookies, but today had to add time?
  • The powdered sugar changed to a glaze after a couple hours. Are you supposed to serve them immediately/wait to sugar them until you serve? Or is it supposed to turn to glaze?

Hope your family loves them, Sam! Let me know what they say!


Sam said hers were gross. I tried one and the crust tasted under-baked and salty. Not sure what happened, because mine were good. Sorry, Sam!

4 responses to “Recipe 11: Lemon Squares

  1. Lemon bars are my favorite. These were extra tart– in a very good way. As Marth would say- “It’s a good thing.”


  3. Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge

    Lemon Squares are one of my favs, too. Almost anything lemon is.

    Powdered Sugar melts easily if it gets hot or wet, so wait to powder them (next time, if there is a next time) until they’re cool. They look like they tasted awesome!


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