If you’ve ever heard the expression “easy as pie,” you know that it was coined by someone who eats pie, not someone who makes it. Pie is not crazy difficult to make, but if I had to make up an expression about something being easy, I would not pick pie. Maybe “easy as microwave popcorn?” Nah. That’s hard. I burn it a lot.
Besides, if you’re going for ease, you should probably pick a finger food. Pie is easy to eat if you have plates and forks, but I cannot tell you how often someone brings a pie into the office and there are no implements with which to consume said pie. When given the choice, I turn my pie into bars. And when given further choice, I make lemon pie bars. With endless crumbs on top!
See, kids, mama loves lemon. More than chocolate (shh) in certain weather and situations. And I had a brother’s birthday to bake for this past week who reallyreally loves lemon, so I figured this was as good an excuse as any.
I’ve never had a sister, but I hit the jackpot with brothers. They taught me a whole lot: how to nerd out on Star Trek (original series, please), how to have a good backyard water fight, how to build with Legos, how to make an architecturally impressive Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, and how to pull off boy clothes with ironic flair. Honestly, they taught me a lot more than that. And so I bake for them.
Kind of a sexist construct, the little sister baking for the older brothers. But heck, I am all about being the one who does that. And in return, I get my legal questions answered, my children played with (yay for energetic uncles!) and access to the pool deck in a certain cool brother’s condo building.
These bars are easy, quick, and lemony. Like, VERY lemony. The base is actually a lemon cake mix, which gets combined with quick oats and butter for a fuss-free crumb. I added a healthy dose of lemon zest as well to give it extra zing.
The crumb mixture forms both the base for the bars and the topping, and the middle is simply lemon pie filling and white chocolate chips. My three year-old made this with me. It must be easy as pie.
So that expression exists for a reason, then. And so does pie. And so do big brothers. And that reason is to make life better. If you’re a kid reading this, your big brothers will stop torturing you someday and then you’ll love them like crazy, if you don’t already. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll introduce you to Star Trek.
1 box lemon cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme)
1 and 1/2 cups quick oats
1-2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 can lemon pie filling
1 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the lemon cake mix and quick oats. Stir in the lemon zest. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands until large crumbs start to form.
- Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread on the lemon pie filling and sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly over the filling. Pinching the crumb mixture to get differently-sized crumbs, scatter the remaining crumbs over the pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the crumbs are golden. Cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.