Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars are flavored with lemon zest and topped with crunchy sparkling sugar for a sunny, yummy, easy-to-make treat!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars with Text Overlay


 

A few weeks ago, the middle child was "Superstar" at school. Lest this requires an explanation, over the course of the year, each first grader has a turn to be class Superstar for one week. The Superstar gets to share a poster with the class full of facts and photos of them. The Superstar's family is invited to eat lunch with him/her. The Superstar's parent(s) visit the classroom one afternoon to read a story. And the Superstar gets to bring a treat of some sort to share with the entire class.

Aerial View

Well, let me just say that after waiting all school year for his turn, my 7-year-old was WAY excited to finally have his moment week in the Superstar sun. And since his favorite desserts have always been lemony, he asked me to whip up some special lemon treats for the occasion.

I thought about making traditional lemon bars, but I was worried they'd be too messy. However, I like doing bars of some sort when baking for a large group, since slapping cookie dough in a pan is a lot faster than forming individual cookies.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars Cut Into Bars on Serving Platter

I decided to take my ever-popular Chewy Snickerdoodle Bars recipe and see if it would translate to a lemon version. I omitted the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cream of tartar and added lemon juice, lemon zest, and a splash of lemon extract.

And while I've seen other lemon sugar cookie bars that were frosted, I wanted mine to be sugary on top. So I sprinkled the unbaked bars with a combination of granulated sugar and sparkling sugar, for simultaneous coverage and crunch. Then I crossed my fingers and popped 'em in the oven.

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars on Plate

(Might I add here that I made a double recipe to have enough bars for all of my son's classmates and teachers -- meaning two 9- by 13-inch pans' worth -- so I really hoped the recipe was going to work on the first try!)

And...drumroll, please...I'm happy to report that my Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars turned out perfect! They're soft, light, and slightly chewy. The flavor is lusciously lemony but not overpowering. And the sugar cookie tops are sweet and crackly and crunchy (←my favorite part).

These were a hit with my son's class and they were a hit with our family at home (because having doubled the recipe, there were enough bars to save a few back for us as well...not by accident). But most importantly, these Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars were a huge hit with the Superstar himself! In fact, I think Mr. Resident Lemon Lover may just have a new favorite bar recipe... 😉

Close-Up

More Lemon Desserts

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars ~ flavored with lemon zest and topped with crunchy sparkling sugar for a sunny, yummy, easy-to-make treat! | FiveHeartHome.com

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars are flavored with lemon zest and topped with crunchy sparkling sugar for a sunny, yummy, easy-to-make treat!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 20 bars
Calories: 210kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure lemon extract, optional

FOR THE TOPPING:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sparkling sugar

Instructions

  • Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with butter (or spray with cooking spray); set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to stir butter until creamy. Blend in sugar and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, and add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and lemon extract, if using. Blend until just smooth.
  • Mix in the flour mixture until well combined. Spread in an even layer in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the granulated sugar and sparkling sugar evenly over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 22 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (do not overbake). Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into 20 bars.

Notes

If you don't have any sparkling sugar on hand, you may top the unbaked bars with 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 55mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.8mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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24 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are excellent! Perfect for bridal showers, baby showers, or any other spring celebration.
    I love sugar cookies but not baking them. This is the perfect solution.
    I have made these 3 times: twice with lemon, once with lime. Both are great flavors.
    I used sanding sugar in place of sparkling sugar (that's what I had on hand). I only used 1 TBSP of granulated sugar and 1/2 TBSP of sanding sugar for the topping, it was plenty.
    I used a metal baking pan and a small off-set spatula to spread the dough. In my gas oven, these were done at 22 minutes.
    These will definitely make an appearance at family celebrations!

  2. 5 stars
    OMG! These bars are amazing! Absolutely amazing!

    I was worried about how they would turn out because the dough was stickier/ wetter than most bar recipes I’ve made in the past. Getting the dough spread out in the pan was a bit challenging…but the end results made the extra work well worth it!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Everyone loved this cookie! It's one of my go-to cookies that I make during the holidays. Will be making these for my daughter's wedding (they don't want a cake) & hoping that they freeze well since I'll be baking over 400 cookies.

  4. 4 stars
    Thanks for this recipe! I had some issues with mine getting done. I baked in the middle of the oven, but left my pizza stones on the other 2 racks beneath, so I'm wondering if that was the problem? They looked golden brown and I tortured my kids by making them wait an hour, then when I cut them, the bottom was undercooked. So I put them back in for another 25-30 minutes and they were definitely brown on top and baked. Any suggestions? We're still eating them and I'd love to try again because---yum!

    1. Hi Kim! Yes, it's odd that the tops were golden-brown but the bottoms weren't done. So it sounds possible that the pizza stones could have been altering the circulation of heat in the oven? I can't think of any other variable that might have caused that issue. At any rate, I hope these bars turn out perfect if you decide to try them again! 🙂

  5. Hi Again Samantha,
    I have now figured out how to print the recipe with the picture. Sometimes my age (nearly 80) gets the better of me I guess.

    1. Awww, Carol...you beat me to it! I'm so glad you figured out that at the top of the printable page, there's a little box that says "Recipe Image" which you can check. You aren't letting your age get you down at all! 😉 I'm glad you enjoy my recipes so much, and I hope you'll let me know if you have any other questions. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I made these for an Easter dessert. They were lemony delicious; soft and light. This is a keeper and will definitely make them again!

  7. 5 stars
    I just tried these and they are OUTSTANDING!! I am so impressed. I immediately put the recipe into my cookbook! Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    I have made these 4 times in the last 2 days for work. Love them and they are so easy to make. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  9. 5 stars
    I made these yesterday to take to a family get together and they were a big hit! They were delicious and I will definitely make them again!

    1. Yay...I'm so glad they were a hit, Marnie! Thanks for taking the time to let me know. 🙂

      1. It's a very coarse, clear/white sugar that's usually sold by the sprinkles. If you don't have any, you can sprinkle these bars with regular granulated sugar instead. Sparkling sugar just gives a nice extra crunch if you have some. 🙂