Lemon Squares have always been one of our family’s favorite cookie recipes. They are chewy, crunchy, lemony, sweet and tart at the same time! For years and years I would make a double batch of these spectacular bars and put them in a 9×13″ baking pan which meant they were quite thick and took a lot longer to bake (like about 45 minutes). But Lemon Squares are really best made with a 10×15″ cookie sheet (with edges) if you’re going to make the double batch–which is what I’ve done here. I’ve never been one to make a little bitty 9×9″ pan of any kind of baked goods. No, my sweet tooth would never allow such a chintzy amount of any sweet goodie! I would always double any recipe so we had plenty. I still do that today.
Additionally, these delicious cookies so loaded with lemon flavor have always been my second son’s favorite cookies. I baked these a lot for the kids when they were growing up because the recipe was so easy to make and SO inexpensive. I used to make these particular cookies almost every year for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza and after my kids grew up and moved out of the house, Jordan always expected these tasty treats to be in his popcorn-sized Christmas tin! A couple of years ago when I left them out of the tin, I got this message on the phone, “Hey, Mom, where are the Lemon Squares? I can’t find any!!!!” “Uh, yeah, well, I wanted to try some new recipes so I had left them out this year.” “Oh, man. They’re my favorites.” The following year, however, I made sure Lemon Squares made the cut. Last year, though, I left them out again and substituted another luscious Lemon Coconut Pecan Cookie in its place! “What, no Lemon Squares, you say???” Yikes.
Thankfully, neither of my children have my horrendous sweet tooth. My pediatrician told me when they were born not to give them anything sweet until they were two-years-old. Except for birthday cakes I really stuck to that rule and, as a result, neither of them developed a strong desire for sweets at a young age. Now, years later, neither of my boys care all that much for sweets. (I wish my mom had practiced such discipline with me growing up!) Even though I baked ALL the time when the boys were little, they would eat one piece of whatever I made (even if it was 3-4 dozen cookies), and I would end up eating all the rest! It’s a miracle I didn’t weigh 200-300 lbs. considering the way I ate back then. But there are a few desserts the boys will eat on occasion and this has always been one of Jordan’s favorites. The interesting thing is I never realized it was his favorite cookie until long after he moved away for college!
If you like simple, if you like lemon, if you like sweet and tart, if you like ooey, gooey textures in cookies, you will LOVE these delightful Lemon Squares. The recipe’s been around for decades and I have no idea who originated it. I got the recipe from Pat Whitfield, who was our church cook back in the 1980s when we were members of First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo, Florida. Pat used to make these quite frequently for the dessert at our church suppers on Wednesday nights. Pat always cut her bars quite a bit larger than I’ve cut mine, so we got a double or triple dose of luscious lemony flavor. Pat’s main job was as a school cook in the Pinellas County School System, but eventually she became a full-time cook at our church as it grew to thousands of people and we were always having food for some event or other. I collected many of Pat’s fabulous recipes and think of her fondly every time I make one of them–like these fabulous Lemon Squares.
Lemon Squares are so fantastic, I think your family will enjoy these wonderful treats almost as much as ours do. Drool, baby, drool!
Lemon Squares are a delightful bar-type cookie.
Take a platter of these dessert bars to your next tailgating party and they will be gone in short order!
Lemon Squares have an ooey-gooey lemony filling that is incredibly rich
Lemon Squares have always been one of our family’s favorite cookie desserts.
These cookies are not only pretty to look at, they are marvelous on the taste buds.
I could sit down with a plate of Lemon Squares and they’d be gone in no time!
This close up shows a little bit of the gooey texture inside the bar.
Here’s what I did.
Melt butter in medium mixing bowl.
Add UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour. Bleached flour toughens baked goods.
Add powdered sugar.
Stir ingredients to combine. They will be rather crumbly.
Spray a 10×15″ cookie sheet with cooking spray. Carefully fit the mixture into the pan building up a 1/2″ border-edge along the sides. Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, make lemony filling: In a large mixing bowl, break four eggs.
Add baking powder, salt and grated lemon peel or lemon zest. This is really better if you grate a fresh lemon and add it, but I use the stuff out of the spice jar in a pinch. You can also grate up lemon peels rather than throw them away after you use them later by storing the zest in zip lock bags in the freezer. Then pull out the amounts you need whenever you need lemon zest.
Add lemon juice. If you have a lot of lemons, use fresh lemon juice.
Whisk ingredients until smooth.
The crust layer has baked.
Spread the lemon filling over top of the crust and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until either a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or when no imprint remains when lightly touched in center.
Here the Lemon Squares are baked. Cool completely.
Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.
Because these bars are so gooey in the center, I usually refrigerate them 30-60 minutes before cutting to make cutting easier. Cut into 48 bars.
Lemon Squares are a delicious cookie you’re whole family will enjoy.
I warn you in advance, these cookies are addictive.
If you enjoy the taste of lemon in your baked goods, you will absolutely rave over these tasty jewels.
These bars are so easy to make, plus they are extremely economical if you need to make a dessert in a pinch and are out of resources!
Garnish the Lemon Squares with lemon zest if desired, but they taste equally fine without any garnish.
Don’t Lemon Squares look wonderful?
Here’s the recipe.
(Adapted recipe from Pat Whitfield, cook at First Baptist Church, Indian Rocks, Florida)
3 cups UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
4 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tsp. grated lemon peel
Powdered sugar for garnish
Grated lemon zest, for garnish if desired
Mix flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar. Press into sprayed 10×15” cookie sheet, building up a ½” edge. Bake about 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Beat eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon peel and lemon juice about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Pour over hot crust. Bake about 25 minutes longer, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center. Cool completely. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Cut into bars. Sprinkle each with grated lemon zest, if desired. Makes 4 dozen.
NOTE: You may have to refrigerate or freeze the bars before cutting them as these are pretty gooey otherwise.
These luscious bars have always been my younger son’s favorite cookies. They are yummy!
If you’re looking for a quick and easy dessert recipe, Lemon Squares sure fits the bill.
We have made these for many years in the Christmas baskets we give away to family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors each year.
These amazing cookies will have you drooling in no time!
Lemon Squares are rich, decadent, and a completely satisfying comfort food!
Time to toss some of these in your cookie jar!