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lemon bar cookies on parchment paper.
4.97 from 32 votes
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Lemon Bar Cookies

These easy lemon bar cookies are made with a soft cream cheese cookie dough, filled with sweet and tart lemon curd, and dusted with powdered sugar. They taste just like classic lemon bars!
Servings 24 cookies
Prep 30 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 40 mins
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

Lemon Curd

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature

Cream Cheese Dough

  • 7 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3.5 ounces full-fat cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 whole large egg room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar for rolling

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 F/180 C.
  • In a small pot, combine the sugar, lemon juice, yolk, and lemon juice.
    ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 3 egg yolks, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly until the curd looks vibrant yellow and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Pour the curd into a bowl and stir in the butter.
    4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Set aside to cool completely before using. Place it in the fridge to chill quickly!
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese until combined.
    7 tablespoon unsalted butter, 3.5 ounces full-fat cream cheese
  • Pour in the sugar and mix until fully combined and fluffy.
    1 cup granulated sugar
  • Mix in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla.
    1 whole large egg, 1 large egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.
    1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Scoop with a standard cookie scoop (roughly two tablespoons) and drop each one into a bowl of powdered sugar.
    powdered sugar
  • Toss the ball in the powdered sugar until fully coated.
  • Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking tray.
  • Use the bottom of a tablespoon to press down the top of the dough to create a well, then fill it with one teaspoon of the lemon curd.
  • Move the cookies to give them at least 2-3 inches of space between them to spread.
  • For thinner cookies, bake right away for 10 minutes.
  • For thicker cookies, freeze for 20 minutes then bake for 13 minutes.
  • Let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack then dust with more powdered sugar and enjoy!

Notes

Step-by-step process photos are provided above, in the body of this post.
  • Use a kitchen scale for the best results. Baking by weight is much more accurate than cup measurements!
  • The best tip for making the lemon curd is to make sure you stir it constantly when it's on the heat. This will keep the eggs from scrambling.
  • Do not let the lemon curd boil! You should cook it over low heat.
  • Let the lemon curd cool completely before using. You can place the bowl in the fridge to chill it quickly or leave it out at room temperature for 1 hour before using it.
  • Drop each dough ball directly into the powdered sugar to keep it from sticking to your hands.
  • If you prefer a thicker cookie, freeze them for 20-25 minutes until frozen solid then bake for 13 minutes.
  • Fresh lemons: I recommend fresh lemons for the best and freshest flavor. You can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch but I highly recommend fresh!
  • Egg yolk: You will need egg yolks for both the dough and the lemon curd.
  • Cream cheese: This recipe has the best results with full-fat cream cheese.
 
Storage & Freezing
  • Room temperature: Store the baked cookies at room temperature in an airtight container or on a baking tray wrapped in plastic wrap. They will stay soft and fresh for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing the baked cookies: I don't recommend freezing the baked cookies.
  • Freezing the dough: You can freeze them before baking! Place the tray of assembled cookie dough in the freezer until frozen solid, then transfer them to an airtight container. Place a sheet of parchment paper in between layers to keep them from sticking. The powdered sugar melts a little in the freezer so it may need to be dusted before baking.
  •  

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 75mg | Potassium: 24mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg