Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars are an easy to make, homemade dessert recipe that's perfect for spring and summer. Tender and moist sugar cookie bars are filled with lemon zest and topped with a crunchy sugar crust.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, or lightly grease the bottom and sides and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice, then beat until fluffy, about a minute.
In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients - flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until combined.
Pour into prepared pan and use a spatula to spread evenly to the edges. Batter will be thick.
Sprinkle up to ¼ cup of reserved granulated sugar evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, then test with a toothpick for doneness. Insert toothpick into the center of the pan. If toothpick comes out with wet batter, the bars are not done. Continue checking every 2 minutes. If toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, then the bars are done. Bars will be lightly browned around the edges and beginning to lightly brown on top.
Place pan onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting and enjoying.
*For a stronger lemon flavor, add more lemon zest. As written, your bars will have a light lemon flavor.
Once completely cooled and sliced, store bars in an airtight container at room temperature. Bars will keep for 3-5 days. To keep them fresh for longer, add a slice of bread to the container and replace when bread gets stale. Bread will help keep the bars soft and moist.
For this recipe, you'll need one large lemon for the juice and zest.