I’ve baked a lot of bars this summer. Why? Perhaps because they’re easy, in that you usually just need a few bowls and one pan. No need to prep your dough and roll it, or scoop individual portions for cookies. You make them, press or spoon them into your pan, and about a half-hour later you have a nice batch of treats.
Some bars are more complicated than others, especially those with a bottom crust, a filling, and a topping or glaze. While this sounds complicated, in most cases it’s really not. These lemon almond bars, a King Arthur Flour recipe, were easy to make and taste even better after they’ve had a few days to “age.” These treats actually remind me of a pie in bar form; the bottom crust might seem very thin, but it’s really all you need with the filling.
For the crust
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped roasted unsalted almonds
- 1/4 cup flour
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- zest from 1 medium lemon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.
Make the crust: In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a crumb-like texture that sticks together when you scoop up a handful. Press into the bottom of your baking pan and bake for 12 minutes.
While crust is baking, make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine eggs, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract; stir in almonds and flour. Once crust is baked, pour filling over top, smoothing out as much as possible. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top looks set.
While the filling is baking, make the glaze: in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, and lemon zest; slowly stir in lemon juice to make a very watery, runny glaze.
Remove bars from oven and allow them to sit for 2-3 minutes, then pour glaze all over the top, spreading gently with an offset spatula; the glaze will soak into the bars right away. Allow bars to cool completely before cutting; store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.