Lemon Buttercream Bars

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I’ve been working on this Lemon Buttercream Bars recipe for a while now but it started off as a Lemon Marshmallow Meringue Pie. Do you ever start making a recipe then change directions and turn it into something else? That’s what’s happening here. The Lemon Marshmallow Meringue Pie is delicious! Don’t just take it from me – anyone that has tried it says the same thing. So what’s the problem then? That darn marshmallow I want in the meringue. It’s puffing up too much during baking and then shrinking too much during the cooling process. My boyfriend says I should just leave out the marshmallow but the marshmallow is what puts it over the top in terms of deliciousness. Oh well – I’ll keep working on it. In the meantime, the cookie crust and lemon filling is just way too good to keep to myself so I turned it into these Lemon Buttercream Bars. It’s the perfect combination of sweet & tart and makes an excellent summer dessert.

Lemon Buttercream Bars

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Lemon Buttercream Recipe

Lemon Buttercream Bars:

You’ll need to let these cool overnight before serving so work that timing into your party plans. If you try to cut it into squares before it’s ready, you’ll just end up with a thick lemon soup.

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Lemon Bars Made From Scratch

4.5 from 2 reviews
Lemon Buttercream Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
These bars will have to cool overnight, in the fridge, before cutting into squares. Wait until the bars are cool before making the icing.
  • Crust:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, slightly melted
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • Lemon Filling:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups water
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • Icing:
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • juice and zest of one lemon
  • 5 cups of confectioners' sugar
  1. Crust:
  2. Grease 9" x 9" baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together until well mixed. This mixture may be crumbly but that's okay.
  4. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the greased baking pan.
  5. Place this pan in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F.
  7. After the 30 minutes of chilling in the fridge, remove the pan and poke holes in the crust with a fork.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until edges are very slightly browned).
  9. Lemon Filling:
  10. While the crust is in the fridge chilling, you can start on the lemon pie filling. Make sure that you have all the ingredients ready before you get started because you're going to want to stir this mixture constantly so it doesn't burn.
  11. In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, flour, corn starch and salt.
  12. Add in water, lemon juice and lemon zest then put on stove top over medium-high heat.
  13. Stir this constantly until boiling.
  14. Add in butter, continuing to stir.
  15. Remove from heat briefly and pour about ½ cup of hot mixture in with the egg yolks and whisk together well. Pour the egg mixture back into the main pot, return the pot to the heat and continue to boil until the mixture is thick (about 2-3 additional minutes).
  16. Remove from heat and pour into baked crust.
  17. Place pan in fridge overnight so the bars can cool.
  18. Icing:
  19. Don't make the icing until the bars have cooled overnight.
  20. In a large bowl, beat shortening and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  21. Beat in lemon juice and lemon zest.
  22. Gradually add in confectioners' sugar (one cup at a time) scraping down sides of bowl to make sure everything is well combined.
  23. Pipe swirled icing (I use an icing bag with a Wilton 1M tip) on cooled and sliced bars.
  24. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Love lemon recipes? Check out a few of our other favorites…

Lemon Cranberry Cake – starts with a boxed cake mix so it’s so easy to make!

Lemon Cranberry Cake

Lemon Loaf Recipe – both the loaf and icing are packed with lemon flavor.

Lemon Loaf with Icing

Lemon Coconut Cheesecake – with a chewy coconut macaroon crust.

Lemon Coconut Cheesecake Recipe

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