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Recipe of the Month: Big Sur Lemon Bars

19 March

As spring erupts stupendously around me on the farm, at the beach, and in my garden, Big Sur has been on my mind.  I wonder what the wildflowers look like lining the hazardous cliffs, how cold the lazy eddies are collecting sunlight in the rivers and streams, and I long to hear the calls of Red Tailed, Cooper’s and Red Shouldered hawks floating on the warm perfumed updrafts above me. I dream about the breathtaking views from Nepenthe’s porch and I also wonder what delicious spring creations are being popped out of their kitchen.

For those who have never experienced the beauty of Nepenthe, I cannot do the place justice through my words, better to toss the kids in the car and head down to Big Sur for the day to experience it yourself.  Not only is their menu amazing (and local), but they have a fantastic art and craft shop, an outdoor fireplace, and one of the best views of the coast I’ve ever experienced.  Do yourself a favor and read the history of the place before you go. It will make you appreciate it even more!

One of my favorite treats from the Nepenthe kitchen and cookbook are their Big Sur Lemon Bars.  We are lucky enough to have lemon trees on the farm that produce delicious Meyer lemons almost all year round. With the beautiful weather we have been having, I’ve been craving a snack that looks and feels like spring, and these tart, gooey treats are it!

They are also great to make with the little ones because they require no delicate touch, and are very hard to mess up!


Photo Credit: Jenna Weber–Eat, Live, Run

Big Sur Lemon Bars

from The Nepenthe Cookbook

Adapted from Eat, Live, Run

Prep/Cook time: 45 min, Makes 9×9 pan of bars


1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 stick cold butter

for the lemon filling:

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

4 eggs

2 tsp lemon zest

2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 5 lemons)

additional confectioners sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 350.

KIDS! To make the crust, combine the confectioners sugar, flour and sea salt in a large bowl.

KIDS! Cut in the cold butter and work with your fingers until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

KIDS!Press into a greased nine inch pan

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

KIDS! To make the filling, whisk together the granulated sugar and flour in a bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.

Cut lemons in half.

KIDS! Squeeze the juice out of the lemons.

Zest the skin of one or two of your lemon peels.

KIDS! Add the zest and the juice and mix until everything is smooth and combined.

Pour filling over hot crust and return to oven to bake for another twenty minutes. When done, the filling will no longer jiggle.

KIDS! Let cool completely in the pan before slicing and dusting with powdered sugar.

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