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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars Recipe

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Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are a delightful, tangy, and creamy dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. These bars feature a buttery crust, a rich cream cheese filling, and a vibrant lemon topping, all dusted with powdered sugar. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the ingredients, instructions, and tips for making the perfect Lemon Cream Cheese Bars. Additionally, we’ll provide variations and address frequently asked questions to ensure you achieve the best results.

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Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Lemon Topping:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Crust

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
  2. Mix Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, softened butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Press into Pan: Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Beat Cream Cheese: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add Sugar and Eggs: Add the granulated sugar and beat until well combined. Then, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add Lemon and Vanilla: Mix in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract until smooth.

Step 3: Assemble and Bake the Bars

  1. Pour Filling: Pour the cream cheese filling over the pre-baked crust, spreading it out evenly.
  2. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the filling is set. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Step 4: Prepare the Lemon Topping

  1. Mix Ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and all-purpose flour. Add the eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and whisk until well combined and smooth.
  2. Pour Topping: Pour the lemon topping over the cooled cream cheese filling, spreading it out evenly.

Step 5: Bake the Bars

  1. Bake: Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, or until the lemon topping is set and lightly golden around the edges.
  2. Cool Completely: Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Dust with Powdered Sugar: Once the bars are completely cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar.
  2. Slice and Serve: Slice the Lemon Cream Cheese Bars into squares or rectangles and serve. Enjoy!

Cooking Notes and Variations

Cooking Notes

  • Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor.
  • Cooling Time: Ensure the bars are completely cooled before slicing to prevent the layers from separating.

Variations

  1. Berry Lemon Bars: Add a layer of fresh raspberries or blueberries on top of the cream cheese filling before adding the lemon topping for a fruity twist.
  2. Graham Cracker Crust: Substitute the all-purpose flour crust with a graham cracker crust for a different texture and flavor.
  3. Citrus Blend: Use a combination of lemon, lime, and orange zest and juice for a citrus blend flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I use low-fat cream cheese?

A: Yes, you can use low-fat cream cheese, but the texture may be slightly different. Full-fat cream cheese is recommended for the best results.

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Q2: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store any leftover bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavors may intensify as they sit.

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Q3: Can I freeze these bars?

A: Yes, you can freeze the bars. Allow them to cool completely, then wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

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Q4: Can I use bottled lemon juice?

A: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor, but you can use bottled lemon juice if necessary.

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Q5: What can I serve with Lemon Cream Cheese Bars?

A: These bars are delicious on their own but can also be served with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for added indulgence.

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are a delightful and easy-to-make dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. With their buttery crust, creamy cheese filling, and tangy lemon topping, they’re sure to be a hit with family and friends. Follow these simple steps and tips to create a refreshing and satisfying treat that everyone will love. Serve these delicious bars with your favorite accompaniments for a perfect dessert experience!

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Whether you’re hosting a party, celebrating a special occasion, or just craving something sweet and tangy, these Lemon Cream Cheese Bars are an excellent choice. Enjoy the vibrant flavors and the ease of preparation, and feel free to experiment with different variations to make this recipe your own.