Lemon squares revisited


A while back I posted a recipe for lemon squares, a sort of cross between a cookie and a tart with a lemon-curd topping. Some people tried it out, and found it a bit too tart. I went back and fiddled around with the proportions of sweet to sour (lemon juice), and here is the result. There is more curd, which I think makes it even better. The curd is quite a bit sweeter with 1 cup of sugar, and the extra egg makes it creamier also.

I made this as part of my Easter cookie making orgy, together with chocolate chip and almond cookies and meringues. The lemon yellow curd is beautiful as you can see, and makes a nice visual as well as taste contrast with the chocolate chip cookies.

Even better lemon squares

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz, or 120 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups flour - cake flour, or all-purpose, not bread flour
  • 1/4 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon or lime rind

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C. Put the butter, 1 1/2 cups of flour, and icing sugar into the food processor. Process until mixed and crumbly. Alternatively, mix the ingredients together with your hands until crumbly. Turn out into a 9" x 9" / 20cm x 20cm square baking pan. Press the mixture around the bottom and sides. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly browned.

In the meantime, make the filling. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and process until blended (or mix by hand). Pour the filling into the crust, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Makes 16 squares.

Filed under:  dessert snack baking cookies sweet lemon

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Your recipe says "Makes 16 squares," but I only got 9 squares out of it.

Well...if you score it on top into halves, then halves again, it will make 16 squares :)

I tried that, but I got 25 squares.

Hmmm what did you do?

Last time I tried I got 4 squares, and the next time I got 625 squares...

625? That would make them 8mm square. You must have frozen it before cutting to get them to not crumble apart.

On a more serious note, this recipe is eerily similar to "Gabrielle's Lemon Squares" on pp 718-19 of Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything." His Butterscotch Brownies on p. 718 are also really great, basically brownies with no chocolate using brown sugar or similar.

The original lemon squares recipe was from some old free cookbook that came with a food processor many years ago, so it's probably some sort of classic.

Some people even prefer the 1 square...

I tried making the lemon squares according to your recipe for a Christmas party tomorrow, but did not have any luck with it setting. I finally gave up & made some brownies & cooked the squares an additional 40 minutes. I think it is set & will probably eat it myself. The lemon sure does taste good.

Joan, the custard is rather creamy and 'un-set' when it's done, unlike a traditional cookie. The texture should be sort of like a stiff-ish pie filling. You can also try raising the oven temperature a bit too, since ovens do rather vary wildly (or use an oven thermometer.

Hi Maki!
I love your site a lot as well as your just bento site because I'm very interested in japanese culture and cuisine having studied the language for 6 years.
Anyway, I just made these and adjusted the recipe a bit since I only had one lemon which gave me abt 2/3 of half a cup of lemon juice so I used 2/3 cup of sugar (also I just used 2 large eggs) and it turned out very yummmy! The balance was just right and the 2 layers were just the right thickness. As for the how many squares it produced, I have no idea since I just cut off a piece that I wanted to eat =D
Keep blogging Maki!