Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars are soft and chewy with lots of citrusy tang. They’re baked in a 13×9 inch dish which removes the hassle of forming individual cookies – just slice and enjoy!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Hello, friends! I hope everyone is well and finding the baking ingredients needed to make all the comfort foods required for these days of sheltering. Thankfully, I am now stocked up on flour, yeast, and the other essentials that keep me working and doing what I love.

Lately I’ve been craving the flavors of buttercream birthday cake, but I’ve been without the enthusiasm it takes to bake, fill, and frost an entire layer cake. Sugar cookie bars are a low lift stand-in with all of the nostalgic birthday flavors and lots of sprinkles! This recipe is a departure from the usual sugar cookie flavors of vanilla on vanilla (which is also delicious) and instead uses lots of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice to give these treats some zing!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

The first order of business is to make lemon sugar for the cookie dough. Zest an entire lemon over a bowl of sugar and blend together with your fingertips. The citrus oils disperse through the sugar which uniformly flavors the dough.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Blended together, the cookie dough will be pale and crumbly. Squeeze a handful of crumbles in your palm – if the dough holds together then you’re on the right track!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Pat the dough evenly in a buttered dish. The dough will turn lightly golden at the edges as it bakes, but the middle should still remain pale – these are soft baked for a thick, chewy texture.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

The buttercream is thick and fluffy, and so tangy with lemon zest and freshly squeezed juice – yum!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

When the cookie portion is completely cool, spread the billowy frosting evenly over the surface.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Just look at that frosting to cookie ratio! I’d say that’s about 50/50, which is about right for buttercream lovers (me)!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

This kind of baked good is cute, tasty, and practically made to be shared (in normal circumstances they are SO bake sale-worthy!). So, I’m eager to find a way to safely share baked goods like these with friends and family during this time, and with careful packaging and a doorstep delivery I believe it is possible. I have a little more research to do, and I hope to post my findings and methods here!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Heather Baird
Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars are soft and chewy with lots of citrusy tang. They’re baked in a 13×9 inch dish which removes the hassle of forming individual cookies – just slice and enjoy!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 17 mins
Total Time 37 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15

Equipment

  • 13×9 inch baking dish

Ingredients
 
 

Lemon cookie

  • 1 cup 200g granulated sugar
  • Zest of one lemon about 1 tablespoon
  • 2 1/2 cups 300g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup 113g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon buttercream

  • 1/2 cup 113g unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups 450g powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of one lemon about 1 tablespoon
  • Milk or cream to thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow gel food color
  • Mixed pastel rainbow sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish.
  • Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Use your fingertips to blend the zest into the sugar until the zest is well dispersed and the sugar is fragrant with lemon.
  • In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and lemon sugar until creamy. Add the egg, sour cream, lemon juice, and extract. Beat to combine. Add the dry flour mixture and mix together on low speed until well incorporated but still crumbly. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden and the center is still pale. Cool completely before frosting.
  • For the frosting, cream the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add about 1/3 of the confectioners’ sugar and beat until combined. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest; beat again. Mix in the remaining confectioners’ sugar, adding the milk or cream to thin the mixture to spreading consistency. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add gel food color and whip until a consistent bright yellow color is achieved.
  • Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cookie in the pan. Cover with sprinkles if desired. Let stand until set, about 10-15 minutes, or chill in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm. Cut into squares before serving. Store cookies in an airtight container for optimal freshness.
Keyword 13×9, american buttercream, easy christmas cookies, lemon buttercream, sugar cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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bhavesh
bhavesh
1 year ago

Love these cookie bar recipe. It is really amazing. I tried making this cookie bar at my home. Also sharing here a lemon cookie bar recipe. Check it out: https://www.recipespack.com/lemon-sugar-cookie-bars-sprinkle-bakes/

P√Ętisserie Paris
P√Ętisserie Paris
1 year ago

Making these this weekend!

Indya | The Small Adventurer
Indya | The Small Adventurer
1 year ago

My mouth is practically watering over that buttercream! It just looks so delicious ? and I'm always up for anything lemon flavoured!

Baker in the Basement
Baker in the Basement
1 year ago

Made these just now and am snacking on a couple… I couldn't even wait for the frosting to set! Soft frosting or not these are super good! I sent half the squares to my Mom who is a major lemon fiend. Thanks for this bit of sunshine!