I thought about calling these bars Kill You With Lemon Bars but it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as Lemon Drop Sugar Cookie Bars, right?
The truth is, that glaze on top? That luscious, sweet and crazy tart lemon glaze? It’s gonna kill you with lemon. Now, in my lemon loving world, that’s a good thing. But if you aren’t quite as hip on lemons as I am, consider yourself warned that the glaze on these bad boys is screaming with lemon flavor. I just don’t want anyone upset with me. Or with lemons. Or with glazes in general.
Lemon drops were my favorite candy as a kid but I haven’t enjoyed them in years and years. And while we eat a lot of home baked sweets around here, real live candy is in short supply. So crushing up lemon drops for a glaze on sugar cookie bars is like the ultimate splurge for me and the family. It felt a little naughty, I’m not going to lie, but the result was so yummy, I couldn’t resist sharing.
The sugar cookie bars themselves are soft and mildly sweet making them the perfect vehicle for that insane lemon glaze.
Ok, let's talk. First of all, make sure you zest the lemon before you juice it (the zest is used in the batter and the juice is used in the glaze). Also, I want to be clear that these bars are soft and sweet but the glaze is super lemony in a tart and sweet way, so if you want to tone down the crazy lemon factor in the glaze a bit, you could always use milk in place of the lemon juice (I personally love the lemon juice option, though). I didn't measure beforehand, sorry, but I think the 6 ounces of lemon drops is about a cup of lemon drops (before crushing!).
- 3/4 cup butter (12 tablespoons), softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (from 1 large lemon or so)
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces lemon drop candies, crushed
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or milk (see note)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon extract and mix for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until combined.
- Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press and/or spread the sugar cookie mixture gently into an even layer into the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes. Don't overbake!
- For the glaze, whisk all the ingredients together (use less lemon juice for a thicker glaze/more for a thinner glaze). I used my blender to crush the lemon drops, then just added the powdered sugar and lemon juice and pulsed a couple times until combined.
- Pour the glaze over the slightly warm or cooled bars.
Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (bars from this favorite recipe and glaze from an old handwritten recipe for lemon drop cookies I found in my recipe binders)