Very recently, we were surprised by a new neighbor bringing over cookies. Not just any cookies, kitchen sink cookies, on a silver platter with a nice handwritten note! I don’t know what was the most surprising, the delightful cookies or, the fact that they were new to the neighborhood and wasted no time extending such a kind gesture. It was all Bree from Desperate Housewives!
Knowing that it’s completely unseemly to return an empty tray(Auntie would have said ‘nekkid plate’), and the fact that she was so thoughtful, I knew that I had to fill it with something…not just anything…Lemon Squares! Lemon Squares are my ‘go-to’ treat for welcoming folks. Actually, they’re my ‘go-to’ treat for anything
These are my new favorite version of lemon squares, using cream cheese and confectioners sugar in the filling. Kinda like the gooey butter cakes but, with a lemony shortbread crust instead of a cake mix crust. Not that there’s anything wrong with a cake mix crust
|Line your pan with parchment paper and press shortbread dough into pan.|
|Pour that creamy goodness of cream cheese, eggs, butter, lemon juice & zest, and confectioners over the crust!|
|Bake, cool, cut…How BEAUTIFUL!|
|Even MORE Beautiful|
makes 24 squares
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for pressing crust into pan
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, about 3-4 lemons
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1lb + 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper. Make the crust by combining flour, sugar, salt, and 1 teaspoon lemon zest in a bowl until mixed through. Add butter to flour mixture and combine using pastry cutter or fork, until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter remain. Stir in egg and vanilla and mix until dough forms. Flour fingers and press dough into pan to cover bottom. Set aside until ready to use.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted, cooled butter, followed by lemon juice and zest. Carefully Mix in 1 lb. confectioners sugar, as it has a tendency to “fly” out of the bowl if it’s dumped in all at once. Pour over crust and bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Once cooled and cut, sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar.