January 6, 2009

Sebastian’s New Year’s Lemon Bars


First, I just have to say thank you. Your comments on yesterday’s post dragged me out of a funk, inspired me, and made me sense a web of unseen support out there on the internets. And what a wonderful feeling that is. I can’t quite thank you enough. And now, for the lemon bars…

Last year we dutifully ate our black eyed peas, and where did that get us? So this year Sebastian and I revisited one of our favorite New Year’s Day: we did absolutely nothing, all day, ate brunch just as the sun was going down, and enjoyed these cold lemon bars in a warm apartment.


This is Sebastian’s recipe and he has no idea where it originally came from. All we know is that it is now copied in a cartoonist’s handwriting on a weathered index card, and they come out perfect each and every time. The crust is buttery, flaky, and rich, the lemon layer sweet and brightly puckery at once, the perfect marriage of opposites.


These make quite a few lemon bars, which I would encourage you to give away to your friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Otherwise you will be visiting the fridge upwards of twice a day, cutting out little squares of lemony goodness, trying to dispose of these lovelies before your new year detox begins. Which is what I was doing.


Sebastian’s New Year Lemon Bars
makes 3-4 dozen

for the dough
2 cups sifted flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

for the lemon filling
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar for sprinking on top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, mix ingredients for the dough and pack into an ungreased 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.

In another mixing bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into egg mixture and beat. Pour over dough layer as soon as it comes out from the oven.

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake another 20 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cool, and then cut into squares.

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  • Sara Rose: I adore lemlon bars but for some strange reason, never make them. I’m not sure why. I had better try these. My stomach commands me to.
    7 years ago

  • Sarah: I’ve never made them, either, so it helps to have a fiance with lemon bars as his specialty! These are really great–you won’t be disappointed, Sara Rose!
    7 years ago

  • Adrienne: I’ve never made lemon bars, but I am obsessed with lemons. It’s possible you’ve inspired me to reconcile those two things.
    7 years ago

  • Kate: I don’t like lemon bars, but those look extraordinarily tasty.

    Another B+S detoxer! I’m determined to stick to it, but I don’t know how they can make rice, beans and veg sound so very boring…

    7 years ago

  • Betsy: Sounds like Sebastian and I may share a grandmother! I can vouch for these gems. Speaking of grandmothers, mine used to say we have to make ourselves available to our dreams. I am looking forward to a book as I am a big fan of your website.
    7 years ago

  • Rita: Hi Sarah. Just found your blog trhough Martha’s. Wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and all the best luck for you on your adventures. I’ll stop by more often.
    PS- I guess we share the love for all things pink…
    7 years ago

  • Sarah: Kate, I hear you on the boring factor. But in this strange way, I’m really looking forward to eating monk food for a few days.

    Betsy, I can’t believe you have this same recipe (or similar)! They’re fabulous, aren’t they? I like the idea of making yourself available to your dreams. What a great way to put it.

    Rita, Welcome! Happy new year to you, and I hope you come back often.
    7 years ago

  • Kaycie: These little jewels look and sound delicious. I wish I could have them on my new diet. I know! They will be my reward after I reach my first goal.
    7 years ago

  • MrsB: yum cows bum!! guess what I am making tomorrow! And what a bright sunny thing to make, just the smell of lemons lifts my soul, heavenwards! x
    7 years ago

  • hobbit: If life hands you lemons, make lemon bars!!
    7 years ago

  • Kelly: Hey Sarah, thanks for the double post (two in as many days.) I check your bolg everyday and an entry always brightens my day right up. Also, I was on the look out for a good baked gift and lo and behold! I have found it.

    Good luck in 2009!
    7 years ago

  • love,gidget: ooohhhh, those look yummy!
    7 years ago

  • Sarah: hobbit, that totally should have been this post’s title!

    kelly, hang on for more–i’ve got more on the way!
    7 years ago

  • rachel: I knew we weren’t the only ones making lemon bars for New Year’s!
    7 years ago

  • bev klopfenstein: i was just getting ready to start making Sebastians lemon bars for a gathering tomorrow night….when i discovered that the lemon juice i defrosted…..was in fact chicken stock! thank goodness i had some boxed brownie mix! it could have been quite interesting….
    7 years ago

  • honeybeecooksjackfruit: I must make these! I love anything lemon. Bookmarked!5 years ago

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Only the pure of heart can make good soup.
- Beethoven