When I first heard there was such a thing as a Meyer lemon, I didn’t get it. I thought, lemons are lemons and just calling this one something special doesn’t make it anything other than a lemon. (I know. So cynical.)
I held this belief until a few months ago, when I started reading up on Meyer lemons after finding them at the Walmart by my school. When I found out how wonderful and magical they supposedly are, I was disappointed that I was at school, where I didn’t have the time or means to bake anything.
Luckily, a few days ago I found a bag of Meyer lemons at my local Hyvee. I practically skipped back to the cart, I was so excited. They were just so cute! See, Meyer lemons are smaller than regular lemons, their skin is smoother, and they’re a slightly darker yellow. So basically I felt like I’d just bought a bag full of sunshine.
Still, I was kind of skeptical of these beautiful little lemons. I still sort of thought that lemons were lemons. Obviously the only way to test this out was to make lemon bars!
I’ve never made lemon bars before, so I was nervous. Never mind the fact that I would be switching two ingredients in my recipe: gluten-free flour for the all-purpose, and Meyer lemons for the regular. Making regular lemon bars was nerve-wracking enough, but gluten-free Meyer lemon bars? Daunting.
Actually, lemon bars are not really that hard, and they’re super rewarding. The instant I started zesting the Meyer lemons, I knew I’d been wrong about them—these were no ordinary lemons. They smelled a little sweeter, a little darker, and there was a floral element I just couldn’t put my finger on. When I juiced them, I tasted a bit of the juice and it was definitely not your average lemon juice. It was still sour of course, but a lot more subtle, with a lovely sweet aftertaste.
Like I said, I switched out a couple ingredients, but other than that I left the recipe as is. I adapted it from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe. According to my parents, Meyer lemons make a much tastier filling than regular lemons, and I totally agree. Plus, these lemon bars are even better after spending a night in the fridge.
One downside to Meyer lemons being smaller is that it takes more of them to get enough zest and juice. I ended up using four lemons for zest and three for juice. Luckily I still have a few left to play with!
Meyer lemon bars
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Powdered sugar (optional)
- Set oven to 350°
- Beat butter for about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup of the sugar and beat until combined. Beat in the cup of flour until crumbly. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8x8x2 in baking pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden.
- Meanwhile, combine eggs, remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, lemon zest, juice, and baking powder. Beat for 2 minutes or until thoroughly combined. Pour over hot baked layer.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges and center is set. Cool on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over top.
I’d recommend making these ahead and sticking them in the fridge for a few hours.
So these lemon bars have made a believer in me. Not all lemons are created equal. Best of all, I still have four lemons waiting to be made into delicious things. Expect more lemony goodness to come.