I am so excited to tell you all about these cookie bars!
I sometimes have old lady taste when it comes to desserts.
You can keep your hot fudge cookies and cream banana split peanut butter cup sundae. I’ll just take a lemon bar. Seriously. It’s how I roll. Like an old lady.
Simpler really is sometimes better.
Traditional lemon bars are one of my absolute faves, but I’m switching things up a bit here today in two ways. First, we’re adding lavender to our lemon situation, and second, we’re making cookie bars instead of lemon custard/curd bars. Think lemony sugar cookie bars!
The lavender adds a sort of whimsical and romantic feel to these cookie bars. Like, I feel like they should be enjoyed with a cup of tea or served on a tiered stand. It makes it feel fancier!
That said, lavender is a tricky ingredient. Particularly in baked goods! Too little and you don’t know it’s there at all. Too much and it tastes like you’re eating soap. Ugh. How do I know this?
Well, I made these bars THREE TIMES before I got the amount of lavender just right. Trust the measurements in the recipe, people. Don’t go rogue here! It can totally ruin the experience. Take it from me.
I wasted a ton of precious baking ingredients in my quest to get the perfect lemon lavender bar for you. I felt pretty discouraged at a couple points, but I carried on! And I have to say, I’m really happy with the results on this one.
For these bars, I like using lavender extract. I buy mine on Amazon, but I’m sure you could find it at baking or specialty food stores. The extract gives you a floral note, but a little goes a long way! Again, trust the measurements below, and measure carefully.
The lavender here is subtle but definitely there – which is exactly how I want my lavender to be in baked goods. Because, to me, the lemon is totally the best part. The predominant flavor here really is the lemon. The lavender is more of a background note, but I think that’s how it should be. Again, we don’t want to be eating cute little bars that taste like soap, right?
The cookie bars bake up fluffy and soft with that perfect chew I love in my sugar cookies, and they’re completely delicious all on their own. But to make ’em extra pretty and to drive home those lemon and lavender flavors, I like to top these with a simple glaze. It adds a little moisture as well, which is a nice balance with the fluffy cookie bar.
I decorate these with a sprinkling of culinary lavender flowers (again, purchased online), but this is completely optional. They still taste and look great without the lavender flowers! Any time I can gussy something up (sometimes unnecessarily), I’m going to take the opportunity. In this case, it’s probably a bit gratuitous, but…I like it. The flowers give them a more romantic feel, AND it lets you know exactly what’s in the bars.
I personally love a cookie bar over actual cookies sometimes. They’re just so much EASIER. No scooping and measuring and baking in batches. Nope. The dough gets pressed into a pan and baked. That’s it. You still get the cookie experience of chewy edges and soft centers with a fraction of the time and work.
So these little dreams are pretty much my ideal treat. Bright and tart like a lemon bar with the texture of a cookie.
Sign me right up!
These Lemon Lavender Cookie Bars are a revelation! They’re sweet and lemony with a touch of lavender essence. The lavender here is floral and light and not at all overpowering, and it pairs so beautifully with the flavor of lemon. The sweet sugar cookie base and the light lemony glaze are a match made in heaven!
For the Bars:
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Zest of 1 lemon (roughly 2 tablespoons)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil (any neutral flavored oil will work)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lavender extract (measure this carefully!)
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
For the Lemon Lavender Glaze:
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- Zest of ½ a lemon (roughly 1 tablespoon)
- Juice of 1 lemon (roughly 2 tablespoons)
- ⅛ teaspoon lavender extract (measure this carefully!)
- Dried culinary lavender flowers, for garnish (optional)
For the Bars:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray everything with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (alternatively, you can do this in a regular bowl if you’re mixing by hand or with a hand-held mixer), combine the sugar and lemon zest. WIth your hands, rub the lemon zest into the sugar until it is fragrant.
- Add the butter to the bowl and beat until the mixture is fluffy and creamy, about 30 seconds.
- Add in the egg, oil, lemon juice, and extracts and beat to combine.
- Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, mixing well after each addition. When you add the last batch of dry ingredients, beat until just combined – don’t overmix.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan, smoothing it out as evenly as possible. The dough will be sticky. My favorite method for pressing it into the pan is to spray my hand or a spatula with nonstick spray and use that to press it evenly into the pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the center is set.
- Cool the bars in the pan completely before topping with the glaze.
For the Lemon Lavender Glaze:
- In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and extract. You want it to be easily pourable and smooth – you can add a touch more sugar or lemon juice to achieve this consistency, as needed.
- Pour the glaze over the cooled bars and sprinkle the dried lavender over top for decoration (if using). Allow the glaze to set completely before slicing into bars. I like to put the whole pan in the fridge for 15 minutes or so to help set things up more quickly. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature. I like to store the bars in the fridge for up to a week. They’ll keep at room temperature for a 2-3 days.
- Bar recipe lightly adapted from Laura’s recipe.
- It is important to measure the lavender extract carefully. It is extremely easy to overdo it. You’ll go from something lightly floral and fragrant to something that tastes like bitter soap. It took a few tests to get the amount of lavender right in this recipe – trust me when I say you don’t want to add more than is specified in the recipe!
- Category: dessert
Keywords: lemon cookie bars, lemon sugar cookie bars, lemon lavender cookie bars, lemon lavender desserts, lavender desserts, sugar cookie bars, lemon desserts