The term "bar cookies" or "squares" originated in the 20th century. The earliest examples we find in American cookbooks are from the 1930s [Date bars]. A survey of cookbooks suggests these recipes gained popularity as decades progressed. Lemons are ancient foods enjoyed in many cultures and cuisines from the beginning of time through present day. They figured prominently in custards, pies, cheesecakes, candies, and baked goods. They were also used to flavor savory dishes (lemon chicken, etc.). Lemon bars, as we know them today, evolved from Renaissance times. Why? The ingredients provide the answer. This is when shortbread/crust was developed, lemon custard was very popular and sugar was sprinkled on everything.
1 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons of Flour
Pinch of Salt
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Mix flour, butter and powdered sugar. Press in ungreased square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches, building up 1/2-inch edges.
Bake crust 20 minutes.
Beat granulated sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice, baking powder, salt and eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched lightly in center. Cool; dust with powdered sugar.