Sugar Cookie Lemon Bars

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I actually used to hate lemon when I was a kid and would never have even entertained the idea of eating a lemon bar. And yet, here I am now, regularly making lemon curd whenever I have egg yolks leftover from making a white cake or a Swiss meringue buttercream. And I don’t even want to admit how many of these lemon bars I’ve eaten over the past few days haha

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Anyway, when I make lemon curd, I’ll usually just keep it in the fridge for the week and dollop it on yogurt for breakfast (or ice cream for dessert), or swirl it into a loaf of challah bread (which is super delicious and now that I’m thinking about it, I’ll need to make it again soon). This time, though, I also had some sugar cookie dough to use up, so these hybrid sugar cookie-lemon bars were born.

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Sugar cookies are not my favorite cookie (chocolate chip 4 life), but I ended up really liking the thick bar-style sugar cookie; it was a nice soft texture and I thought it paired really well with the thin, gooey layer of slightly tart lemon curd. The layer of lemon curd isn’t too thick, just enough that you get a bright lemony flavor without it being overpowering. Even my coworkers who don’t typically like lemon ended up liking these bars.

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Basically, these bars, with the thick base and thin lemon layer, are the inverse of the traditional lemon bars with a thin crust and thick lemon filling, but don’t let that keep you from trying them. They are super delicious. Plus, with the bright yellow color and the dusting of powdered sugar, they are the perfect early spring dessert…or breakfast, I’m not judging.

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Ingredients

Sugar Cookie Base

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Lemon Curd

  • 6 egg yolks
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of 2-3 large lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes

Powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

Make the cookie dough.Β In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Using your hands, pat the cookie dough down into the pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until edges begin to set. Set aside while youΒ make the lemon curd.Β 

In a saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cubes of butter, stirring until melted and fully incorporated.

Pass the lemon curd through a strainer; this will remove any zest as well as any eggs that might have overcooked/scrambled and ensure a smooth curd.

Spread the curd over the sugar cookie base and bake for another 10-12 minutes, until set.

Let cool completely before removing from pan, slicing, and dusting with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

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