Recipe Review

I Tried Chocolate Lemon Curd Bars and I Can’t Get Over How Delicious They Are

published Apr 16, 2023
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Chocolate lemon bars stacked.
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

As a novice at-home chef, I enjoy when my tastes are challenged by learning an unfamiliar recipe. I’ve found that doing something for the first time always ends up being an eye-opening experience, and if you pay attention, the lessons you learn along the way will make you a much better chef.  

Recently, while fighting a mean chocolate craving, I came across a post by Buttermilk by Sam on Instagram that really caught my attention. As I sat there on my couch, melting at the sight of these decadent-looking Chocolate Lemon Bars, I thought to myself, “Lemon curd and chocolate? That’s strange.” Apparently I wasn’t as open-minded as I thought, because the unlikely duo of lemon curd and chocolate was really throwing me for a loop. 

I had to see for myself if Sam’s chocolate lemon bars could actually live up to the hype, or if my initial reaction to the unusual combo was, in fact, accurate. So, once again, I found myself trying something new, stepping even further into the wild unknown of baking. 

Get the recipe: Chocolate Lemon Bars

How to Make Chocolate Lemon Bars

Unless you already have lemon curd prepared, this is going to be a two-part recipe, so I would recommend starting the night before with the lemon curd preparation.

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and lining an 8×8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Use a food processor to turn 300 grams of Oreo cookies into crumbs and mix that together with melted, unsalted butter. Use a spoon to layer the bottom of your square pan with the cookie crumbs, making sure to press them into the bottom to ensure it is all one tightly packed and consistent layer. Set the crust in the oven and let it bake for about 10 minutes. 

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

Remove the crust from the oven and pour in the lemon curd layer. Then, return the pan to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the curd is set. You can test this by giving the pan a jiggle, and if only the center wobbles, it’s set. Remove from the oven and let the curd cool overnight in the refrigerator. 

For the chocolate ganache, place dark chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl and set aside. Warm up heavy cream in a pot for just a few minutes, until you see it start to bubble around the edges. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate chips and stir until smooth and mesmerizing. Gently pour the ganache over top of the chilled lemon bars and then let that sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Slice, store in the fridge, share with your friends, or eat them all in one sitting. Just make sure to serve them cold!

My Honest Opinion of Chocolate Lemon Bars

I actually ended up having a lot of fun with this recipe! Sam does an excellent job at breaking it down in such a way that makes you feel like she is right there helping you. I went into this recipe a little on the nervous side, due to my unfamiliarity with making lemon curd, as well as only having made a ganache once before. But after carefully following the instructions, my worries quickly turned into excitement for what I’d just created. 

As for the unlikely duo of chocolate and lemon curd, I think I may have to reference this recipe next time I’m having a knee-jerk reaction to something new. Considering that the most labor-intensive part of the recipe was the zesting and squeezing of more than 6 lemons, I would say that this is a fairly easy recipe for any skill level to take on, and I can’t wait to make these again for the next family function. 

It’s important to remember that everything that happens in the kitchen is a learning experience that will only make you better at what you do!

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

4 Tips for Making Chocolate Lemon Bars

  1. Do not overcook the lemon curd. While making lemon curd, be sure to remove it from the stovetop immediately once it has reached 170°F. Additionally, if you heat it up too quickly, you will start to get scrambled eggs. 
  2. Have fun with the chocolate ganache. Even though the recipe may call for a specific type of chocolate, remember that it’s totally OK to try out alternatives. For my version, I opted for Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Chips and it still came out amazing. 
  3. Avoid an oily ganache. If your ganache turns out looking oily, it’s likely due to the fact that the heavy cream was overheated. This will burn the chocolate and unfortunately, renders the ganache broken. 
  4. Allow the ganache to fully set. If 30 minutes is not enough for the ganache to harden a bit, allow it to sit in the fridge — or even the freezer — for more time. Mine turned out a bit messy due to rushing them out of the fridge after an hour, and still they weren’t ready. 

Get the recipe: Chocolate Lemon Bars