Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars

Spring is here! ( although you wouldn't know it by the weather we've been having lately) Lemon flavor makes me think of Spring and sunshine and I needed a bit of both the other day, so I made a batch of these. I have posted my sugar cookie recipe before and my Key Lime sugar cookie bars, but I tweaked it by adding lemon juice and flavoring, and these were sooooo good! I love making Sugar cookies into bars , less time consuming and you can cut them into nice squares after there baked and iced. There's no rolling and cutting out the dough with cookie cutters, and then icing them is easy! Then you have the cookie you were craving! These are my new go to when I want a cookie. Next to chocolate, Lemon is my favorite flavor!! Enjoy!

Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter (no substitutions), softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon with about 1/2 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in it. (this helps give it a little extra tartness)
3 cups all-purpose flour plus an extra Tablespoon if your dough is slightly sticky (because of the juice)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl add your sugar and lemon zest, rub the zest into the sugar until it becomes fragrant. Next,  add your butter and cream until light and fluffy--about 2 minutes.
Add egg, flavorings  and lemon juice mixture and mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add slowly to the butter mixture and mix to combine.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Plop your cookie dough out onto your cookie sheet and press to the edges with fingers so the dough covers the bottom of the pan (if your pan is really big and you want thicker bars don't go all the way to the edges.)
Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or longer until the middle is well set and the edges start to turn slightly brown. The baking time really depends on how you like them and how thick your dough is. If you like them more chewy bake less time, for more crispy bake a little longer.
Cool completely before icing.

For the Frosting:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, do NOT use Nestles' Premium white chocolate chips, they do not melt well)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon lemon juice (bottled or freshly squeezed) add 1/4 teaspoon citric acid  and dissolve in the lemon juice
2 or 3 drops yellow food coloring

Place the white chocolate chips in a small microwave safe bowl; microwave for about 1 minute, then stir. This should be enough time to melt the chips completely, but if not, microwave for 15 seconds more. Stir, and if melted set aside.

Next, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined. Add the salt, vanilla extract, lemon juice mixture, and yellow food coloring and mix until very smooth. Add more powdered sugar if too thin. You don't want the icing to run off the bars. Add the melted white chocolate and mix just until incorporated.
Frost the sugar cookie bars and add pink sprinkles or leave then plain. Then cut into squares and enjoy!  (I did)..........YUMMO!

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