Unlike most of the recipes I like to use, this lemon bar recipe isn't completely homemade. It uses a packaged lemon pie filling mix, but it's really yummy, and it makes super easy lemon bars.
I love this Christmas dessert recipe because it's sweet but tangy, and it's not really as rich as some of the other desserts. And the chopped pecans give it a really nice touch.
It's really a very pretty dessert, and looks great on a plate with a bunch of other bars, cookies and candies.
Here it is!
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy.
Add the flour to the butter mixture and mix it until smooth. Incorporate 1/3 of a cup of the pecans.
Press the dough into a lightly greased 9x13 baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes, or until it's golden.
Meanwhile, add the pie filling mix to the eggs and whisk until the pie filling is dissolved. Spread the lemon mixture evenly over the baked crust, and sprinkle with the rest of the pecans.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the lemon filling sets.
Let it cool, and then cut it into bars.
Toasting the pecans isn't hard. Just chop them, spread them onto a baking sheet, and pop them in the oven at 350F until they start to smell, well, toasty.
It takes about 10 to 15 minutes, but you have to keep an eye on them because they can burn quickly once they're done.
You can toss the pecans in some melted butter before toasting them. It'll add a bit of flavor and help them toast more evenly.
We always used the Shirriff brand for this lemon bar recipe, but I'm sure another brand would work just fine. You're basically making a lemon pie on a cookie crust, so just get a pie filling mix for one pie, and follow the instructions — for example, you may not need 2 eggs.
I'd recommend cutting the bars in smaller squares rather than bigger ones. If you have smaller bars, you can sample lots of desserts instead of filling up on just a few — and you can always eat more if that's what you like!
These bars freeze really well. Once they've cooled down and they're all cut up, you can place them in an airtight container in the freezer. If you need to layer the squares, separate each layer with wax paper.