Recipe: Creamy Lemon Squares

foodsweet treats

Creamy lemon squares remind me of growing up because my mom has always been great at making treats. We didn't have them everyday, only every so often and on special occasions. But when she did make something sweet, it was always delicious. This Creamy Lemon Squares recipe was inspired by the lemon bars my mom made when I was growing up and another family favorite, key lime pie. The crust is buttery and sweet; the filling is creamy and tangy. My family gobbled them right up.

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This is the perfect little treat as the days are warming up and summer is close by. I'm sure a plate taken to a friend would be just the thing to brighten their day.

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I used some Italian cornmeal cookies as the base for my crust. Graham crackers would be great too, or if you wanted to make your own shortbread crust, that would also be a great base. For a lower fat version, use low-fat or skim condensed milk.

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Creamy Lemon Squares

Adapted from The Joy of Cooking


For crust

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker or cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter

For filling

  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons)
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon zest, finely grated

Topping ideas

  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • Extra cracker or cookie crumbs
  • Curls of lemon zest
  • Fresh berries


For crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter an 8" square baking dish.

In a medium bowl mix the cracker or cookie crumbs and granulated sugar with a fork. Drizzle the melted butter over the top, and stir well with the fork. Press mixture into the bottom of the pan using your hands or the bottom of a glass. Bake for about 15 minutes until the crust is puffed up a little and lightly golden. Let cool slightly while preparing filling.

For filling

Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, lemon juice, and zest. Pour filling evenly over the baked crust. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the filling is set, but still jiggles a little in the center. Remove and let cool. Chill for several hours or one day before cutting into bars.

For serving

Cut into 16 bars. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and desired garnishes.

Yield: Sixteen 2-inch bars.

Lindsey Johnson Cafe Johnsonia Lindsey Johnson writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia.  She also writes the Secrets to Living Well column for Design Mom, and shares weekly recipes on Petit Elefant and Make and Takes.  She and her husband live in Utah with their three kids.

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