Tangy Lemon Walnut Squares

Yield: one 8-inch square pan, about 20 squares
Recipe: 84/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 58


      Lemon desserts are not my favorite thing on the planet, but when one cannot eat chocolate one has to adapt. I made these bars mostly because walnuts are involved and they are easy to share, which is a bonus and makes it easy to bring to work! Perhaps I was a bit biased to start with, but I was not a big fan of this recipe. I found that the base was much to thick compared to the lemon layer, which made for a more dense and nutty bar. If I must redo this recipe I would halve the walnut base and double the lemon layer, which in my opinion is meant to be the star ingredient in this recipe. However, since my colleagues seem to like these lemon walnut bars, perhaps it is just a personal preference. Let me know if you try them!

Ingredients for base:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces
  • ⅓ cup icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces

Ingredients for lemon layer:

  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup white corn syrup
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Icing sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up the sides.
  2. For the base, combine the flour and walnut pieces in a food processor. Pulse until the walnut pieces are finely ground.
  3. Add the icing sugar, lemon zest and salt and pulse.
  4. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture is a rough, crumbly texture. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press down, pushing the crumbs slightly up the edges of the pan (about ¼ inch). Bake for 25 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool before filling.
  5. For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs and corn syrup until smooth.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and cornstarch together. Stir in the zest and baking powder, and quickly whisk this into the egg mixture. Pour the filling over the cooled crust.
  7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until set with just a little jiggle in the centre. Cool to room temperature before removing from the pan, then slice and dust with icing sugar