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Ruth Reznikoff’s Lemon Squares

(recipe, Kim Carlson)

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Like many of the best recipes, this one came from a friend (Susan) who got it from a friend (June) who got it from her mother. It's worth passing on.


    1. 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    2. ⅔ cup butter (11 Tbsp.), cut up, plus more for greasing the pan
    3. 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
    4. 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest (see Note)
    1. 2 cups brown sugar, packed
    2. 4 large eggs
    3. ¼ tsp. baking soda
    4. 1 tsp. vanilla
    5. 1¼ cups nuts (preferably walnuts), finely chopped (optional)
    1. 1⅓ cups powdered sugar
    2. 3 Tbsp. lemon juice (see Note)
    3. 2 tsp. grated lemon zest (see Note)


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 11-by-7-by-2-inch pan.
    2. Make the crust: Using a pastry cutter or a food processor, mix together the flour, butter, powdered sugar, and 1 tablespoon lemon zest until you have a dry, crumbly texture. Spread the crust evenly across the bottom of the buttered pan and pat it down. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (The crust won’t brown; it just firms up.) Let cool for about five minutes.
    3. Make the filling: While the crust is baking, mix together the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl until well blended. Spread the filling evenly over the freshly baked crust, and return the pan to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry. Let cool for five to 10 minutes.
    4. Make the glaze: While the bars are baking, mix together the glaze ingredients in a clean bowl. Make sure it tastes quite tart and lemony; you should feel free to add more grated zest if necessary and slightly more juice, but don’t make it much more liquidy. When the pan of freshly baked bars has cooled about 10 minutes, drizzle and spread the glaze evenly over the top of the bars.
    5. Let the bars cool completely before cutting into squares to serve. Remove each square carefully with a thin metal spatula or a table knife.


    We don't recommend Meyer lemons for this recipe; they have a nice flavor, but are too sweet here.