My mom and I love lemon... the tarter the better! These are one of our favorite lemon bar recipes. They have a shortbread crust, lemon cheesecake layer, and lemon curd layer... delicious!!! They are a little too tart for my husband, but my sister Lisa was in town visiting and loved them. So if you love a strong lemon flavor like my family does, you will love these!
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp lemon extract
4 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornstarch (+1 tbsp if using 3/4 cup lemon juice)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (use 3/4 cup if you really like tart)
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp powdered sugar
Cream butter and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer set on high speed. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add flour and mix at low speed until fully incorporated.
Press dough evenly into bottom of an 8x8-inch pan.
Refrigerate until firm, approximately 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 300-325 degrees 15 minutes after refrigerating dough. Prick shortbread crust with fork.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crust turns golden brown.
Cool on rack to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Do not turn oven off.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth in a medium bowl with electric mixer set on high speed. Add egg and lemon extract and beat on medium speed until light and smooth. Cover bowl tightly and refrigerate.
Blend the egg yolks with the cornstarch and sugar in medium saucepan. Place over low heat and slowly whisk in water and lemon juice. Increase heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Add lemon zest and butter and cool for 10 minutes.
Spread chilled cream cheese filling evenly over cooled shortbread crust with spatula.
Spread lemon curd evenly over cream cheese filling.
Place pan in center of oven. Bake 30-40 minutes or until edges begin to turn light golden brown. Cool to room temperature on rack. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour before cutting into bars. Dust top with powdered sugar.