Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crusts

Since my husband’s birthday was this past Wednesday, we ended up celebrating a little early, last weekend with his parents. For the early birthday celebration, I made these white cupcakes (the birthday boy’s request) and decorated half with a vanilla buttercream frosting and the other half with an amazing Valrhona chocolate buttercream frosting which I hope to share soon.

I felt a little odd not doing anything special on the actual day of his birthday. So, I started thinking about what I could make him. Chuck is a fan of citrus (which is partly why I’ve been trying to perfect this Citrus Bundt cake recipe). He’s actually suggested I try making lemon bars a couple of times this summer, but I’ve been hesitant. I like lemon bars when they’re good, but most times I find them overly sweet and underwhelming in terms of the actual lemon flavor and tartness.

I had this lemon bar with almond short bread recipe from the kitchn bookmarked for awhile now. So I thought, Why not??? And decided to give it a try.

I was drawn to this particular recipe for a couple of reasons:

  1. The lemon curd recipe calls for significantly less sugar versus many of the recipes out there. Though I love desserts, I’ve never been a fan of anything super sweet and that’s my problem with most lemon bar recipes – more often than not, they’re too sweet! Overbearingly sweet, actually. This one isn’t.
  2. The lemon curd recipe also called for the zest and juice of 5-6 lemons. Most lemon bar recipes only call for the juice. Zest carries so much flavor and it always seemed like a waste when it’s not used. In this particular recipe, I think the zest intensified the level of tartness – a good thing to have in lemon bars, in my opinion.
  3. The almond shortbread crust. Unless it’s a super decadent cheesecake, I’ve never been a fan of graham cracker crusts. The same goes for shortbread. I’ve always thought of both crusts as more like pie crusts – really, they’re just there to hold the filling. I was curious to try this one and it’s amazing. I never thought I’d be a fan of shortbread, but I’m seriously considering making this on it’s own as a cookie.

So there you have it – a super fresh, yet rich and creamy lemon curd which perfectly balanced tartness with sweetness on top of this ridiculously amazing almond shortbread cookie. I will be making these again. They’re definitely worth a try.

In case you missed it, you can find the recipe here.

Notes:

Don’t let the picture deceive you. The recipe actually yields 16 2 inch squares, but a few didn’t make it into the refrigerator to set over night. 🙂

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