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  • Writer's pictureSusie Csorsz Brown

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars

Take your regular (and tasty!) lemon bars, add some cream cheese to make it a teensy bit fancy and ... voila! A well-appreciated dessert bar that can transport easily (if you want to share), and also last a few days in the fridge (if you don't). The one catch with these bars: try to let the bars cool completely before slicing and serving for the neatest bars.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars


Yield: 12 - 24 bars (One 9 x 13-inch pan)


Ingredients


crust


10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 to 4 lemons (finely grated zest of 1 lemon for the crust, juice of 2 - 4 lemons for the lemon layer)

1 cup /150 grams whole wheat flour

1/2 cups/50 grams all-purpose flour

3 oz cream cheese, cut into small pieces


lemon layer


1 cup /200 grams granulated sugar

1/4 cup/33 grams all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, room temperature

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from the lemons above)

Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)


Directions


Prepare the crust: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square metal pan with foil. Lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.


Combine the zest and sugar in a medium bowl, and pinch together to release the lemony oils. Add the butter, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Mix until well combined. While stirring, gradually add the flour and stir just until the dough comes together into a mass. Scrape into the prepared pan and gently press the dough into an even layer. Scatter the small pieces of cream cheese all over the surface of the crust.


Bake until crust is fragrant and the center is dry and the edges are golden, 15 to 18 minutes.


While the crust bakes, make the lemon layer: Squeeze 2/3 cup juice from the zested lemon and more fruit if needed. In the same bowl used for the crust, whisk the sugar and flour. Whisk in the eggs until smooth, then whisk in the lemon juice just until incorporated.

When the crust comes out of the oven, whisk the lemon mixture again and then gently pour it over the hot crust. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees.


Bake until the lemon layer is set around the edges and jiggles a tiny bit in the center, about 20 minutes.


Cool completely in the pan, then refrigerate uncovered until cold and fully set, at least 3 hours. Use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan to slice. Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!


The bars can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. If you’d like, dust with powdered sugar right before serving.



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