Lemon Squares

September 10, 2013Teresa

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.

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!

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.

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. These bars are so fantastic, I think your family will enjoy these wonderful treats almost as much as ours do. Drool, baby, drool!

I recently remade Lemon Squares (November 2014) for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza 2014 because my son begged me for some. I wasn’t planning on remaking these, but since I did, I updated the pictures as well. Enjoy.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Lemon Squares are a family favorite!

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Lemon Squares are a delightful bar-type cookie that’s nice and chewy. They 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.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

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.

 

Here’s what I did.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

I used these ingredients.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Melt butter in medium mixing bowl. Add UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour. Bleached flour toughens baked goods. Add powdered sugar.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Stir ingredients to combine. The mixture will be rather crumbly.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Spray a 10×15″ baking dish 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.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Meanwhile, make lemony filling: In a large mixing bowl, break four eggs. Add sugar, baking powder, salt and grated lemon peel or lemon zest. Add lemon juice. If you have a lot of lemons, use fresh lemon juice.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Whisk ingredients until smooth.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

The crust layer has baked.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

 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.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Here the Lemon Squares are baked. Cool completely.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

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 32 bars.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Lemon Squares are a delicious cookie you’re whole family will enjoy. I warn you in advance, these cookies are addictive.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

Don’t Lemon Squares look wonderful? Garnish the Lemon Squares with lemon zest if desired, but they taste equally fine without any garnish. If you enjoy the taste of lemon in your baked goods, you will absolutely rave over these tasty jewels.

 

Here’s the recipe.

LEMON SQUARES

(Adapted recipe from Pat Whitfield, cook at First Baptist Church, Indian Rocks, Florida)

Print Recipe
Lemon Squares BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list Yum
Luscious lemony bars with a tasty crust, gooey centers, and powdered sugar sprinkled on top. A traditional favorite that's great for holiday baking.
Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Press into sprayed 10x15” baking dish, building up a ½” edge.
  3. Bake about 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Beat eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon peel and lemon juice about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  5. Pour over hot crust.
  6. Bake about 25 minutes longer, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.
  9. Cut into bars.
  10. Sprinkle each with grated lemon zest, if desired.
Recipe Notes
NOTE: You may have to refrigerate or freeze the bars before cutting them as these are pretty gooey otherwise.
© Can’t Stay Out of the Kitchen

 

[b]Lemon Squares[/b]
Recipe Type: Cookies, Brownies and Bars
Cuisine: American
Author: Teresa Ambra adapted from Pat Whitfield, cook at First Baptist Church Indian Rocks, Largo, FL, circa 1980s
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 32
Luscious lemony bars with a tasty crust, gooey centers, and powdered sugar sprinkled on top. A traditional favorite that’s great for holiday baking.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups [url href=”http://www.goldmedalflour.com/” target=”_blank” title=”gold medal flour”]Gold Medal [/url]UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 tbsp.[url href=”http://www.drpeppersnapplegroup.com/brands/realemon/” target=”_blank” title=”realemon juice”]ReaLemon[/url] juice
  • 4 tsp. grated lemon peel
  • Powdered sugar for garnish
  • Grated lemon zest, for garnish if desired
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar.
  2. Press into sprayed 10×15” baking dish, building up a ½” edge.
  3. Bake about 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
  4. Beat eggs, sugar, salt, baking powder, lemon peel and lemon juice about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
  5. Pour over hot crust.
  6. Bake about 25 minutes longer, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly in center.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.
  9. Cut into bars.
  10. Sprinkle each with grated lemon zest, if desired.
Notes
You may have to refrigerate or freeze the bars before cutting them as these are pretty gooey otherwise.

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

These luscious bars have always been my younger son’s favorite cookies. They are yummy!

Lemon Squares | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | These lovely bars are one of our favorite #Christmas #cookie recipes. Rich and decadent! #dessert #lemon

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. Time to toss some of these in your cookie jar!

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English Lemon Shortbread Strips

English Lemon Shortbread Strips | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these amazing #lemon bars have a lemony icing to die for. They're terrific for #holiday parties, #Christmas #cookie exchanges or #tailgating. #dessert

Cranberry Lemon Sandwiches

Cranberry Lemon Sandwiches | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these fantastic #cookies are perfect for the #holidays. They use #craisins & #lemon zest. The icing is heavenly. #dessert

Lemon Coconut Pecan Cookies

Lemon Coconut Pecan Cookies | Can't Stay Out of the Kitchen | these lovely sugar #cookies are filled with #lemon zest, #coconut & #pecans. Great for #holidays or #tailgating. #dessert

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