Lemon Cream Bars

When I saw this recipe featured on Tasty Kitchen, I immediately decided to make it. I had committed to bringing a treat to a Women’s Ministry event at my church last Friday, and this seemed like a pretty easy little number.

As soon as I started baking it, my husband looked at me happily. “Oooh, you’ve made this before, right? These are those great lemon bars!”

Suddenly, strange half-formed memories started emerging. Had I made these before? After ruminating for days, seeing a hypnotist and a psychotherapist and undergoing memory revitalization at a clinic in Tibet, I have finally reached the conclusion that I simply can’t remember! It’s rare that a cooking memory could turn so foggy–I tend to remember everything I make in mouth-watering detail. However, all I can conjure up regarding these bars is an undefined sense of deja vu.

But why are we wasting time talking about my early onset of memory loss? The point is–this is a VERY easy dessert to whip up. It takes very little time to get into the oven, and the tanginess of the lemon juice and crumbly texture of the streusel combine to make a lovely little treat. Plus, the ingredients are all things I tend to have in the pantry, so if I’m in a dessert bind, I know I can turn to these.


(Makes 20 bars)

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 1/2 lemons)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup oats

1 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup butter, melted (10.6 TBS)

1 tsp baking powder

1 pinch salt

First things first: preheat the oven to 350 F and assemble the ingredients.

Now it’s time to squeeze the lemons–fresh lemon juice is always best, especially when it’s such a central flavor in the end product.

I had a papercut under my fingernail, so I enlisted my husband to squeeze them for me.

Thanks, babes.

There wasn’t quite enough lemon juice in 2 lemons, so I broke my own rule about fresh lemon juice and supplemented with this little bottle.

What’s the point of making a rule if you don’t break it yourself 5 seconds after declaring it to the world?

I’m glad you feel the same way.

Next up: mix the lemon juice and condensed milk with a whisk or fork until they’re nicely combined. You can’t tell in this picture, but I spilled about half the mixture on the counter due to the violence of my whipping technique. Then I licked it off the counter and called myself Blessed.

So please use a larger bowl than the one pictured.

Set it aside.

Mix the remaining ingredients to form the streusel.

Gratuitous shot of pouring in the liquid butter:

This stuff is so tasty just as it is. I munched on it as I mixed.

Next time I’ll make a little extra and sprinkle some into my yoghurt.

Press half the streusel into a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking dish, creating an even layer.

If you can remember to save the paper wrappers from the butter you melted earlier, you can use them to grease the pan quite nicely. I (of course) forgot and threw them away, so I resorted to some baking spray.

Pour the lemon/condensed milk mixture over top of the streusel . . .

. . . and spread it out evenly with the back of a spoon.

Sprinkle the rest of the streusel evenly over top.

Bake that baby for 25-30 minutes.

There it is, fresh out of the oven.

Don’t try to taste or cut into now, or you will leave a path of destruction in your wake. Cool the bars completely! Exercise your patience.

The rewards will be worth it.

If you don’t mean to consume the bars immediately, store them in the refrigerator–I should add that they’re good warm, room-temperature, or chilled and straight out of the fridge. Yes, I had them all 3 ways.

I was a little afraid that the crumbly streusel would result in a bar that would completely fall apart upon contact with my human hand.

(As opposed to the robot hand that I keep in the drawer, of course.)

So I was obliged to test my theory.

A couple times.

The bars held up quite well!

Aren’t you glad I’m here to figure these things out in advance for you?

To troubleshoot, so to speak?

So am I.

Click here for printer-friendly version: Lemon Cream Bars

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20 Responses to Lemon Cream Bars

  1. Wendi says:

    Mmmmm, lemon. Maybe one of my favorite flavors ever.

  2. Yum. Looks delicious. Love your cooking posts – but when will we hear about what you’re reading lately? Love those posts too :-)

  3. You had me at lemon. And easy.

  4. Virginia says:

    I *just* bought lemons yesterday to make lemon bars! Now, I shall be making yours since they have streusel and I might need the streusel now that I’ve seen it.

  5. Veronica says:

    Nothing says Easter like lemon bars! This is a new take on them, never seen anything like it. Looks so yummy!

  6. Agh. So. Hungry. Why do I read your blog posts when I am sitting stranded far from food and or a kitchen? Help. This is a compliment though, if you can’t tell.

    • Jenna says:

      Thanks. =) It’s funny because last night after dinner I was processing some pictures I took of a Chicken Tagine, and I made myself hungry all over again. The Pioneer Woman’s blog does that to me as well,–it’s pretty lethal.

  7. Annie says:

    So, you have three lemons there in that first picture… Yet, you still ran out. I’m calling you out on it!

    • Jenna says:

      Haha! Yes, I did have another lemon, but I knew I wouldn’t use all of its juice so I decided to save it instead. I have a history of using half a lemon and letting the other half go bad, so this was my attempt at treating that 3rd lemon better than its predecessors. =) Good eye, my dear!

    • Jenna says:

      And where’s that tuna casserole recipe that I totally need in my life?? =)

  8. skippymom says:

    “As opposed to the robot hand I keep in the drawer” Thank you. Did you know that Coca Cola reallllllly hurts coming out of your nose? No? Well, it does. swear.

    These look so awesome – thank you for the recipe. They are going to be great for the Easter pot luck and will be really nice for school treats. And I was thinking the same thing about the crumble factor. Nice to know.

  9. Juliana says:

    Oh! These bars must taste so good…I love everything with lemon…and this one, since has condensed milk…have a great week ahead Jenna :-)

  10. Sherri says:

    Yummage…. I’m thinking Easter brunch now….. had no clever ideas for anything sweet.

  11. Holly says:

    Can’t wait to make these and I love your blog!

  12. Mmmm, you talked these up so much that I can’t wait to try them!! I LOVE lemon desserts!! I always head down the path of destruction… :)

  13. Hannah says:

    Totally delicious! Thanks for posting another great recipe… I love your blog and your sense of humor.
    (found you from Tasty Kitchen)

    • Jenna says:

      Thanks Hannah! Tasty Kitchen is such a treasure trove of awesome recipes. And it’s always fun to connect with other members such as yourself! =)

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