Lavender Lemon Bars

For the lavender sugar:
2 tablespoon dried lavender
3 1/4 cups granulated sugar

For the crust:
8 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup lavender sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
2 3/4 cups lavender sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the topping:
powdered sugar, to taste
pinch of lavender, if desired

To Make the Lavender Sugar:
Place the dried lavender in the bowl of a food processor and process it for 10-15 seconds to chop it into small pieces. Add 1 cup of granulated sugar to the processor and mix for 20 seconds until the lavender is mixed into the sugar. Add the remaining 2 1/4 cups sugar and pulse briefly to combine.

To Make the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-by-13 pan with foil so that it extends up the sides, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk together the melted butter, lavender sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Once mixed, add the flour and stir with a spatula until it is well-combined. Scrape the dough into the pan and press it into an even layer. Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until it’s golden brown on top. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling so it’s ready to go as soon as the crust is done.

To Make the Filling:
Whisk the eggs, lemon juice, lavender sugar and lemon zest together in a large bowl. Sift the flour on top of the egg mixture and whisk it in. When the crust is done baking, slide the rack partially out of the oven. Pour the filling over the hot crust and slide it back into the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center barely jiggles when you tap the pan. Let the baked bars cool until they reach room temperature.

For the cleanest cuts, refrigerate the bars and cut them when completely cold with a large sharp knife. Sprinkle the tops with powdered sugar before serving, and garnish with a pinch of lavender if desired.