Lemon bar fans, you know who you are

  • Katie Workman perfects simple lemon bars.

    Katie Workman perfects simple lemon bars. Sarah E. Crowder/Associated Press

  • Katie Workman perfects simple lemon bars.

    Katie Workman perfects simple lemon bars. Sarah E. Crowder/Associated Press

 
Updated 9/20/2016 6:27 AM

There are certain baked goods that elicit a fierce loyalty among fans. They bring out strong feelings about how they should be prepared (often the same way they were prepared in said fans' childhoods). And someone else's failure to appreciate them can be met with shock and confusion.

Lemon tarts, or lemon bars as they are also known, are such a baked good.

 

People who love them, love them. I once spent a long time making my grandfather a chocolate cake from a famous recipe, and after he finished his slice, he said to me, "You know what I like?"

"What?" I said (expecting a compliment on the rich filling, the moist cake, something like that).

"Lemon," he said wistfully.

The filling in these squares, or bars, is a bit tart -- I don't see the point of too-sweet lemon squares -- but not confrontational. Adding a couple tablespoons of heavy cream offers a silkier texture to the filling, and a smoother citrus experience. Sometimes lemon zest is added to the filling, and while I love the extra burst of citrus, I'm more in love with a super smooth filling, so I skip it. But you can add a teaspoon or so of zest if you like.

If you want to gild the lily, serve these with some sweetened whipped cream on the side.

These lemon squares can be stored at room temperature for a day or in the refrigerator for several days, in a tightly covered container with a piece of wax or parchment paper between each layer. Don't dust them with confectioners' sugar until just before serving.

• Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, "Dinner Solved!" and "The Mom 100 Cookbook." She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/

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