Lemon scented sugar cookies made easier!
This recipe isn’t revolutionary. In fact, it’s only a slight variation on the sugar cookie bars I’ve blogged about in the past. But if you haven’t had the pleasure of baking sugar cookie bars yourself, I thought you could use a reminder. They’re easy, they’re delicious, and they are a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
This springtime lemon variation was served at our coed baby shower on Saturday, which is what I really want to talk about because it was so much fun. Even before I became pregnant I knew I wanted a different kind of baby shower. While I’ve been to so many wonderful traditional baby showers, I’ve attended a few that were… how should I put it?… awkward. More importantly, I wanted Steve and our other male friends included too.
So with the help of some friends and family, we planned a lovely little party to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our little one. My friend Becky was kind enough to let us use her downtown studio space, which I’ve become familiar with through her Vintage Mixer Foodie Tasting Events. There were flowers, cocktails, and of course, lots of food.
We served chicken salad sandwiches, sliced cucumbers with a corn and red pepper salad, and an assortment of cheeses, fruit, and nuts. For dessert I baked two of my most favorite things, brown butter chocolate chip cookies and the lemon sugar cookie bars.
The afternoon was a success and I so enjoyed seeing our family and friends all together in one place. My parents and some of my siblings even came to town just for the event, which was a nice surprise. Steve and I were indeed “showered” with well wishes and gifts.
A quick word about the lemon sugar cookie bars, before I leave you with the recipe. They are my go-to dessert for a casual potluck. I can make them pretty quickly and one batch makes a lot of servings. Like I’ve already mentioned, they are very popular and I receive so many compliments wherever I take them.
They’re quite adaptable to pretty much whatever strikes your fancy, and I loved the subtle lemon flavor of these bars. You don’t need a party or potluck to bake them, however, you’ll have no problem eating them all by yourself, I’m sure.
Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars
For the cookie bars:
- 1 cup butter , at room temperature (226 grams)
- 2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour (620 grams)
- 1 teaspoon salt (4 grams)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (1 gram)
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the lemon buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature (226 grams)
- 4 cups powdered sugar , sifted (440 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
- Pinch of salt
For the cookie bars:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 13 x 18 inch sheet pan and line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and zest and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixture, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 addition, mixing until just combined.
- Press the cookie dough into the sheet pan, using a greased spatula or parchment paper to spread it evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely. Frost with lemon buttercream frosting.
For the buttercream:
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt and mix until combined. Add the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Beat on medium high speed for a few minutes until smooth.
- Spread onto cooled cookies. Slice into bars and serve.