Lemon raspberry bars are pretty much the ultimate summer dessert. Fresh lemony flavor screams warm weather, and turning the bars pink with a little fresh raspberry puree? Well, it just can’t get better than that. Over the course of the past two weeks I’ve made three different batches of these bars, and finally landed on a recipe I loved. Everyone has a different opinion about what a lemon bar should be. Should they be gooey or hold their form completely? Traditional shortbread crust or something different? More tart or sweet? Is your head spinning? Mine too.
Don’t worry I’ve done the work for you now, and these bars are totally worth it.
If everyone has their perfect lemon bar, this is mine. I made the bars with a graham cracker crust mostly because I love graham crackers, but also because it’s incredibly easy to put together. I wanted the bars to be a little bit gooey, so that they didn’t seem too rubbery (this meant reducing the amount of flour included in the filling of the recipe), and I wanted them to be packed with lemon flavor. What’s the point of a lemon bar if it doesn’t taste like lemon, right?
The addition of fresh raspberry puree to these just puts them over the top. I love the pink color, and the fresh, fruity flavor makes these really special. These really do have a lot of lemon flavor to them, so if you’d like a little less tang, I’d suggest reducing the lemon juice by up to 2 tablespoons. The color of your bars might also differ depending on the raspberries you use. Every time I made these they were a little bit different color, but no less delicious, so don’t worry if yours don’t turn out as pink as this batch did.
Top them with powdered sugar right before you serve – both for a little extra sweetness, and because it looks pretty. Just look at that gorgeousness!
Raspberry Lemon Bars
Adapted from: Pink Lemonade Bars
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 16 bars
Graham Cracker Crust
5 sheets graham crackers (about 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) lemon juice (plan on using ~3 lemons)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, optional for topping
Fresh raspberries, optional for topping
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil.
In a food processor, place graham cracker sheets and pulse until finely ground. In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs with sugar, and add melted butter. Stir together until well-mixed and the graham crackers crumbs look wet. Press crust firmly into pan – make sure it’s really packed in there (the bottom of a measuring cup or glass helps)! Bake for 8 minutes, then set aside while you finish preparing the filling.
Add raspberries to your food processor and pulse until completely puréed. Pour into a fine mesh strainer and strain over a bowl to remove the seeds. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to help press the mixture through the strainer until you have separated all the seeds from the juice.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, lemon juice, sugar, lemon zest and flour. Add two tablespoons of the strained raspberry purée and stir together. Pour over the cooling crust, and bake for 15-20 minutes (mine took 18). The bars should be set, and no longer jiggly in the center.
Allow to cool completely (chilling in the fridge for a few hours should help) before slicing. Store leftovers in the fridge, and top with powdered sugar and fresh raspberries directly before serving.