Whenever I make a lemon recipe, I kick myself for baking with lemon so infrequently. It adds a splendid flavor to many kinds of treats, from cakes to cookies to cakey bars. I usually bake with lemons when I’ve bought them for cooking and have extra. This time, though, I had extra lemons from a different lemon-involved recipe. I’m not going to tell you what it was- because I’m still tweaking the recipe and plan to share it with you soon (how’s that for suspense?). In the meantime, let’s talk about these White Chocolate Lemon Bars. Because when you have extra lemons, you should always make lemon desserts, and these White Chocolate Lemon Bars should be a strong contender for your lemon-y scheming.
The recipe’s author describes these as “bold,” and she’s not kidding. There is a lot of lemon happening here between juice in the batter and a lemon glaze on top of it all. White chocolate goes into the actual batter, rather than studding the batter with chips. This adds an almost creamy taste to the lemon base, and the subtle hint of white chocolate adds something special to the standard zesty taste of lemon batters. Once you’ve baked up the bars you add a lemon glaze on top. Overall it’s a smooth treat, if that makes sense- the flavors just work, the textures work, and it’s refreshing to bite into.
I brought this to a Christmas dinner along with 2 other desserts I’d made that day (day off from work = baking madness). But there were only 10 people at the dinner, so some of these did come home with me. I threw them in the freezer to save for my first day of work in the new year. They never made it to my office. Instead, the boyfriend and I learned that these taste really, really good frozen… And ate the leftovers before 2016 even began. I’d say whoops but in reality, I’m quite pleased with our decision.
This recipe comes from a blog called Averie Cooks. Averie’s recipes are consistently excellent, so it has become one of my go-tos for recipe inspiration. I broke Averie’s recipe into a few more steps and included some of my own commentary below.
White Chocolate Lemon Bars
Source: Averie Cooks
Yield: One 8×8 pan so depends on how you slice- I cut it into 24 smaller pieces vs. the original recipe’s yield of 9 bigger pieces
Suggested equipment: None needed
Total Time: ~1 hour
Cook Time: ~30 minutes
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
I halved Averie’s measurements for the glaze and still had extra because I glazed more conservatively than she did. It was just the right of glaze for me, but you’re welcome to lather on more glaze if you want even more tang!
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- about 1/6 cup lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency
- about 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest, or to taste
Step by Step Directions
Make your bars
- Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray
- Preheat your oven to 350F
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the white chocolate and butter. Heat them in the microwave on high power, stopping to check after 1 minute and then adding 20 seconds spurts as necessary to melt them all the way. You should stir the mixture between each spurt to smooth it out. Be watchful of the mixture- don’t let the chocolate scorch!
- Let the chocolate mixture sit for a moment and cool. If you mix in the eggs while the mixture is too hot, the eggs will scramble. Seriously, they will- I’ve had it happen before with other recipes!
- Add to the chocolate mixture: the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice
- Whisk the mixture until it is combined entirely
- Add to the mixture: flour, salt
- Stir the mixture until it is just combined- don’t overmix!
- Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula so you get an even top
- Bake the bars for ~27 minutes, checking to make sure a toothpick comes out mostly clean. There may be a few moist crumbs but you should not see any more “liquidy” batter when you stick in the toothpick
Make your glaze
- In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar and lemon juice
- Whisk until smooth, adding additional glaze or sugar as needed to reach the texture you want- it should be thin and pourable. I added a pinch more lemon juice to mine but you might want to taste it and see how it’s shaping up before you add more ingredients
- Pour the glaze over your bars, smoothing as needed. It may slip and slide into any nooks or crannies and you should definitely let that happen to add even more yumminess
- Sprinkle the top of your bars with lemon zest. I did this pretty conservatively vs. covering the entire top with zest, and really liked how it turned out
- Let the bars cool in the pan, uncovered, for at least a couple hours. If you let them cool overnight, make sure to cover them with foil so they don’t dry out. This step is mainly so the glaze sets up- it should harden on top before you cut and serve the bars
Averie says these keep in an airtight container for a week, or frozen for 6 months. Of course, I can’t confirm that, because like I said- we ate them all the week I made them!