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a lemon bar cookie with a bite taken out

Lemon Bar Butter Cookies

  • Author: Jenna Barnard
  • Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes + 2 hours chilling
  • Yield: 18 cookies 1x


This lemon cookie recipe combines two delicious desserts – lemon bars and gooey butter cookies. A puddle of homemade lemon curd is baked into the center of each cookie.



Homemade Lemon Curd

  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp organic* lemon zest (2 large lemons)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh organic* lemon juice (23 large lemons)
  • 1/4 cup (55g) unsalted butter, sliced into tablespoons

Gooey Butter Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cup (286g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz full fat cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar for coating


Homemade Lemon Curd

  1. Whisk together the sugar, eggs, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  2. Once smooth and well combined, whisk in the lemon zest and juice.
  3. Cook over medium heat until thickened and reaches 170F, occasionally stirring (using a rubber spatula) at the beginning but constantly mixing near the end. It should take about 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and toss in the butter. Stir until melted and combined.
  5. Pour the curd into a wide and shallow heat proof container. Cover the container and let it chill for about 1-2 hours, or until completely cooled and thickened.

Gooey Butter Cookies

  1. Once the curd is set and ready, make the cookie dough.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl using a hand or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, add the cream cheese and butter. Beat on medium-high heat until smooth and lump-free. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and give it another good mix.
  5. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour in the sugar. Then increase the speed to medium-high and let it run for about a minute.
  6. Once well combined, mix in the eggs and extracts. Scrape down the bowl and give it another good mix. It should be fairly thin at this point.
  7. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix to combine, careful not to over mix.
  8. Remove the bowl from the stand and use a rubber spatula to mix in any dry bits that may have sunk to the bottom of the bowl. The dough should now be thick but sticky.
  9. Fill a small bowl with the powdered sugar.
  10. Using a large cookie scoop (roughly 3 tablespoons) scoop a cookie dough ball directly into the powdered sugar and toss to coat. The powdered sugar will prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
  11. Place 5 coated cookie dough balls on your large baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Using the back of a rounded tablespoon, or using your fingers, press into the center of each ball to create a round indent (see picture in post for reference).
  12. Fill each cookie with a full teaspoon of the lemon curd. Then bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have flattened and the curd is pale and bubbly.
  13. The curd will look very pale when it’s right out of the oven, but will turn more vibrant as the cookies cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Continue baking the rest of the cookies.
  14. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then transfer to the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to chill. This helps the curd to fully set.
  15. Dust the edges of each cookie with any powdered sugar that’s leftover in the dish, allowing the curd in the center to peak through. Now enjoy!


LEMON CURD – I haven’t tested it with store-bought lemon curd, so feel free to try this for yourself if you don’t have the time to make it from scratch.

ORGANIC LEMONS – The reason for using organic lemons is due to the fact that regular lemons are typically coated with a fine wax seal to ensure freshness. Since organic lemons are without this coating, the lemon flavor is much stronger. If you can’t get your hands on organic lemons, regular lemons are also OK to use.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: lemon cookies, lemon bars, gooey butter cookies, lemon curd

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