PLG COOKS: Lemon Cream Cookie Bars

In the summer it seems like I can't enough of fruity treats. I want them in all forms: fresh, frozen, blended, baked, and right now a major favorite is the recipe I'm sharing with you today, the most perfect combination of chewy cookies and creamy lemon bars, aptly named Lemon Cream Cookie Bars. These bars are the perfect mix of sweet and tart, and the creamy texture puts them over the top. 

Admittedly, this is one of the more complex recipes I make since generally I'm of the mindset that if it requires more than 5 ingredients then I can just buy it from the the store, but these bars are different. They are worth the time and ingredients and I love them dearly in spite of the length of their recipe card.You NEED these suckers in your summer dessert rotation. I can't promise hard enough. 

Lemon Cream Cookie Bars 
For the cookie crust: 

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
3/8 tsp salt
1 large egg yolk
3/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the cookie crumble: 
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
2 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the lemon filling: 
1 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
4 tsp water
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp lemon zest (1/2 lemon)
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temp


1. Make the Cookie Dough Base: Line bottom and sides of baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. Add butter, sugar, and salt to mixing bowl. Cream with mixer on low until combined and lightened. Add egg yolk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Add flour and mix on low until combined. Press dough evenly into a layer in baking pan. Refrigerate 1 hour. While dough is chilling (or after dough has chilled 30 min), continue with recipe. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

2. Make the Cookie Crumble: Add butter, shortening, and sugar to bowl. Cream with mixer on low until combined and lightened, scraping bowl as needed. Add honey, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Stop mixer; add flour. Mix until pea-size crumbles form. Spread evenly on separate baking sheet. Bake 8-10 min or until brown. Let cool. Break apart if necessary.

3. Prick chilled base dough with fork. Bake 30-35 min or until light brown in color. Set aside to cool.

4. Make the Lemon Cream: Sprinkle gelatin over water in small bowl. Set aside. Stir together eggs, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in top of double boiler. Heat to 170 degrees on MEDIUM, stirring occasionally, about 8 min. Stir in softened gelatin. Remove pan from stovetop; let mixture cool to 130 degrees.   

5. Place lemon cream mixture in a separate bowl. Mix in butter with mixer on low. Pour lemon cream mixture over cookie base; sprinkle crumble evenly on top. Cover; chill approx 3 hours. Once cooled, cut into bars. (Makes approx. 24 squares.) 

Here's hoping life gives you lemons SOON so you can make lemon bars! 

Happy baking! 
ox. Liz 

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