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WOW! I should've known Cook's Illustrated would find the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. I've made this twice now, each time halving the recipe and baking in a 8x8 square pan. The only change I made was to use 1/4 tsp lemon oil (not extract) for each half recipe in place of the zest. Lemon oil is potent and gives my bars that extra tang. What I love best is that the filling cooks to a beautiful smooth finish (I do strain the mixture with a fine mesh strainer before pouring it over the hot crust). The cooked filling does not get eggy or crusty or chewy at all. I don't even sprinkle confectioners sugar on top as I want to show off the silky yellow filling. The shortbread crust is sweet but not overly so, and is not dry at all, but just sturdy enough to pick up a bar without it crumbling into pieces. Yes, these really are Susan's PERFECT lemon bars. Thank you very much for posting the recipe!
These were awesome. I made exactly as written, and they were perfecr. Thanks for a great recipe!
If I could rate just the lemon filling I would give this recipe 20 stars. It's incredible! I used evaporated goat milk in place of the whole milk and that was my only change. It comes out beautiful, smooth, silky, and so so good. The crust really isn't my favorite. It was really crumbly and tasted like flour. But crusts are easy to change, it's the filling that really counts. The best way I can describe it is a burst of lemon perfection, absolutely wonderful!