From mess to success!

2 sticks unsalted butter (softened, plus extra for greasing)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon (zested)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
7 large eggs
3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
6-7 lemons, juice and zest (about 1 cup juice, zest of 3 lemons reserved, divided)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup Confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
For the Shortbread Crust: In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat for another minute, or until blended.
Add the flour and salt and mix until fully incorporated, taking care not to over-mix the dough.
Turn dough out into a 9×13-inch greased baking dish and evenly press into the bottom and about 1/2-inch up the sides of the dish. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 10 to 15 minutes, or until mostly firm.
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until just cooked and pale golden in color. Leave oven on. Allow crust to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Filling: In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest of 2 lemons. Separation of mixture is normal.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Slowly whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just combined. Pour the mixture into the baked crust and cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Once completely cooled, cut lemon bars into 20 squares.
To serve, whisk together the confectioner’s sugar and remaining lemon zest. Generously sprinkle over the lemon bars.
Tip: To maximize the amount of juice squeezed from the lemon, roll the lemon on a hard surface, pressing down with your hands before squeezing.