Chamomile lemon bars have a perfectly buttery shortbread crust, not-too-sweet lemon filling, and hints of floral chamomile.
A couple of weeks ago, I cried over a failed batch of chamomile lemon bars and made Marc put them in the garage. I couldn’t even look at them. It wasn’t my first or even my third attempt at making perfect lemon bars. Honestly, I don’t even want to talk about how long it actually took me to nail this recipe down. Just know it happened, and I am probably a better person for it.
Also, know that it didn’t just begin with the chamomile lemon bars. It originally started with a request from Marc for carrot cake, which I decided against my better judgment to try to blondie-fy. And I even splurged and used mascarpone for the frosting, but they weren’t good at all. I didn’t even have a desire to try to rectify them. So I turned to the humble lemon bar fully believing in their ability to turn things around. And then suddenly I was crying at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning, forcing my sweet boyfriend to take the dejected tray of citrus squares to the garage to think about what they’d done.
Honestly, I don’t know what it is about “easy, beginner” recipes, but I seem to fail them every time. Am I letting my ego get in the way of mixing basic ingredients together? Maybe I need to go back to pastry school to re-learn the basics? Not sure. All I knew after my multiple failed batches was that chamomile + lemon would 100% work. I was very sure of myself.
Additionally, I had the opportunity to learn every single thing that can go wrong with lemon bars! And they are things that I have never, ever read on any other recipe. So I will make sure to share them in the recipe, so you don’t have to have an emotional breakdown over shortbread like I
definitely may have done.
But luckily, here I am with a perfect chamomile lemon bar just for you! I am so excited because these are way less sweet than the usual lemon bar. You know how I feel about too-sweet desserts, and these are not them. The chamomile perfectly compliments the lemon and adds a lovely hint of flora. While the shortbread is uber buttery and melt-in-your-mouthy, it’s not at all oily or pasty. Honestly, I think I actually nailed it. And they’re just in time for Mother’s Day and all the bridal/wedding/baby showers that spring has to offer. Enjoy!!
Chamomile Lemon Bars
Chamomile Lemon Bars
Chamomile Shortbread Crust
- 2 cup AP flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp loose-leaf chamomile tea
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 sticks butter, softened + more for the pan
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup lemon juice (freshly-squeezed)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350* F. Line a 9×13” glass or ceramic baking dish with parchment paper (don’t use metal or it will leave an awful taste!). Butter the dish/parchment paper well, and set aside. Note: I used a 7×10.5” dish which had a perfect thickness. A 9×9” will also work, although you will have to bake it for longer.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and the salt. Set aside. If your tea has large leaves, you will want to grind it with a mortar and pestle, food processor, spice grinder, etc. If your tea is already finely ground, you can skip this step.
- In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the chamomile tea. Mix in the flour-salt mixture one cup at a time until a thick dough comes together. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Use a measuring cup (or something with a flat surface) to press against the dough and even it out. Bake 20-25 minutes until the crust is light brown. Very important: Cool for at least 20 minutes, until it’s comfortable to touch and the crust feels firm. If you don’t, the custard will slide under the crust.
- While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until smooth and lightly foamy. When the crust has cooled, pour the custard mixture over the crust, and bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and doesn’t jiggle too much. You do not want the lemon bars to get browned at all, or they will taste eggy!
- Cool the lemon bars completely. I let them sit at room temp on the counter and finish cooling in the fridge. Cut the lemon bars into 12 even squares (mine were 2.3 x 3.5”). Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy! You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Cafe Amarillo by Local Natives