How to Craft Exquisite Lemon Bars: A Culinary Masterclass with Martha Stewart

Indulge in the tantalizing world of Martha Stewart’s culinary artistry as we embark on a delectable journey to create her renowned Lemon Bars. With two exceptional recipes at our disposal, we’ll explore the nuances of her signature shortbread crust and the vibrant lemon filling, culminating in a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

The Art of the Shortbread Crust

Martha Stewart’s Lemon Bars with Brown-Butter Shortbread Crust

  • Ingredients:

    • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
    • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
    • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
    • Pinch of salt
  • Instructions:

    1. Brown the Butter: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until it turns a beautiful golden brown. Remove from heat and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer, leaving behind any sediment. Refrigerate until solidified.
    2. Create the Dough: Once the butter has solidified, beat it until smooth. Sift in the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt. Mix on low speed until just combined.
    3. Form the Crust: Press the dough evenly into the bottom of a prepared 9×13-inch baking pan, ensuring it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Chill for 30 minutes.
    4. Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the crust for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Squares

  • Ingredients:

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
    • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • Instructions:

    1. Prepare the Dough: In an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the flour and mix on low until just combined.
    2. Form the Crust: Press the dough into the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a prepared 8-inch square baking pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
    3. Bake: Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden.

The Essence of the Lemon Filling

Martha Stewart’s Lemon Bars with Brown-Butter Shortbread Crust

  • Ingredients:

    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 large egg yolk
    • Pinch of salt
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Zest of 1 small lemon, finely grated
  • Instructions:

    1. Whisk the Eggs: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, and salt.
    2. Combine the Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and sugar.
    3. Add the Lemon: Add the lemon juice and zest to the dry ingredients and whisk until the sugar dissolves.
    4. Combine the Mixtures: Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, whisking until well combined.
    5. Pour over Crust: Pour the filling mixture over the hot shortbread crust.
    6. Bake: Reduce oven temperature to 300°F (150°C) and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the center is set.

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Squares

  • Ingredients:

    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
    • ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
  • Instructions:

    1. Whisk the Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, condensed milk, and lemon juice until smooth.
    2. Pour over Crust: Pour the filling over the hot shortbread crust.
    3. Bake: Return to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Finishing Touches

  • Cool and Chill: Allow the lemon bars to cool completely in the pan before refrigerating for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.
  • Cut and Serve: Using the parchment paper overhang, lift the bars onto a work surface and cut into squares. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

With these detailed instructions and Martha Stewart’s culinary expertise as our guide, you’ll effortlessly craft exquisite Lemon Bars that will delight your palate and impress your guests. Whether you prefer the classic Creamy Lemon Squares or the decadent Lemon Bars with Brown-Butter Shortbread Crust, these delectable treats are sure to become a staple in your baking repertoire.

Just three ingredients need to be stirred together to create a sunny, puckery filling for the buttery shortbread crust in these creamy lemon squares that are ready in just fifteen minutes.

Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Squares

The June 2008 issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food contains the recipe for Creamy Lemon Squares.

I’ve actually been making this recipe for years. I created this recipe a while back and have since modified it to be gluten-free.

I’m going to share my regular version and a gluten-free version with you today.

These are an absolute must-make if you adore lemons or lemon bars!

Lemon desserts are some of my favorite. If chocolate isn’t an option, I almost always go with lemon.

For more than 40 years, my mother has been crafting the traditional lemon bars.

Although I adore my mother’s lemon bars, I also adore Martha Stewart’s Creamy Lemon Bars. Like always, Martha elevates a tried-and-true recipe to a slightly fancier level.

In her book Lemon Squares, Martha Stewart improves the richness and creaminess of a lemon bar recipe. It almost makes them custard like.

Everyone loves them, and I’ve sent them to my husband’s office multiple times for staff meetings and birthday celebrations.

how do you make martha stewart lemon bars

  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • salt
  • Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose flour
  • eggs
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • lemon juice

The Ultimate Lemon Bar Recipe (NY Times vs Martha Stewart)


What is lemon bar filling made of?

Ingredients. Recipes vary slightly, but lemon bar recipes call for lemon juice, and many suggest fresh squeezed. Other ingredients include butter, white sugar, flour, eggs, and salt.

Can I use foil instead of parchment paper for lemon bars?

Line your 9×13 pan with foil or parchment paper. I’ve used both. Foil tends to stick to the bottom of the lemon bars a bit, so if I had to choose one, I’d say use parchment paper.

Why do my lemon bars have a crust on top?

The crust forms when the sugar in the lemon bar mixture caramelizes and browns during baking, creating a slightly firm, crispy layer over the bars. The top crust isn’t always visible, as we all enjoy sprinkling powdered sugar on top of the bars before serving.

Why are my lemon bars gooey?

To avoid them being too gooey make sure you allow them to set completely when you take them out of the oven. You know when lemon bars are done when you move the pan a bit and they don’t jiggle. You should cut the lemon bars when they are completely cool.

Leave a Comment