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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Trail Chef: Double-Lemon Bars

When life hands you a lemon, make lemon bars, then go hiking.

by: Kristin Bjornsen

In dubious celebration of the rapidly approaching Tax Day (Monday, April 18, for any procrastinators), bake up these insanely good lemon-day lemon bars as a trail treat for your next hike. The sweet-and-sour combo makes your mouth water and is perfect when you're working hard.

Lemon Bars
Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, by Ina Garten


For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup flour
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt, and with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough on to a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners' sugar.

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Reader Rating: -


Sep 26, 2011

on the sugar try substituting Splenda for baking or some form of Stevia for baking, check labels and Egg Beaters for subbing the regular eggs, also type 2 and used splenda for baking banana nut bread came out just fine.....

dudley ward II
May 18, 2011

i just got done making your lemon bars . my mom makes them and your recipe is just like hers. i ommited the crust and dont mind if it becomes a little messy to eat . so its more like a custard . i wonder if after they cook you could dry them out a little more and with wax paper have a fruit puree roll up ? well the custard is good enough for me and my titanium spork is ready to devour it all. thanks

Liz Case
Apr 29, 2011

This is for the April 15 post from David Brasher: David, many thanks for your time and effort in making a Scout trip happen. Many, many people who love the outdoors would have never gotten into hiking/camping in their adult years except for fun memories like these from their growing-up years. And of course, it takes people who already love the outdoors to work politically to secure our parks, trails, and other protected places for generations to come. Volunteers like you make it happen -- many thanks.

Apr 18, 2011


Does the 3 1/2 cups of sugar not concern the diabetics too??

Apr 17, 2011

For egg substitute look up how to use ground flaxseed or try substituting 6 eggs for 6 bananas. It will taste different, but I bet it will still be delicious. I'm a vegan, so I never use eggs and these are my two substitutes of choice. :)

Apr 15, 2011 you eat them all before you leave home! :)

Apr 15, 2011

These lemon bars seem really impractical for trail food but I could be wrong.

Apr 15, 2011

Hey, I hike many miles and I've cooked lots of lemon bars. I can't imagine a more inconvenient trail snack. I love lemon bars but they simply would not pack well or last long. They are fairly sticky and delicate enough that I think they would become b lemon crumble after a few days of being jammed. in a full pack. If the recipe could be amended some how to stiffen them up then maybe they would be more packable. Good luck to those who try them for trail food . I want them to work out as trail snacks , they are so delicious. I just have
my doubts.

Eric Nelson
Apr 15, 2011

We make a very similar bar which my wife really likes. Since they are baked, the eggs are cooked. They may get stale, but they won't go bad. They are very sticky when the temps are high, though. I actually prefer a lemon shortbread. They are more dense in calories and not sticky.

Diane Harp
Apr 15, 2011

Does the lemon topping get sticky?

Apr 15, 2011

I wonder if one could substitute limes for lemons?

Apr 15, 2011

I wish we could substitute 6 eggs with something else. I am Type II diabetic. thanks.

David Brasher
Apr 15, 2011

In 2007, I backpacked with a group of Boy Scouts and adult leaders across the Sierra-Nevada east to west. It was 65 miles, 6 days and 30,000 feet up and down. As we were walking down Kern Canyon on the fourth day in 100 degree temps in a granite pipe I began to get weak and dizzy. I am sure it was eletrolyte loss. I was low on supplies, but my son still had his bag of lemon bars. He luckily was able to part with his bars and give them all to me and I ate every one. I am not completely sure, but I think lemon bars may have saved my life.

Tia Bednar
Apr 15, 2011

These types of bars typically need to stay refrigerated because of all the egg in them, so it should be a very short hike, if you choose to take them with you. They are very yummy, so I would be surprised if they didn't get eaten on the way to the trail!


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