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!
Lemon Lavender Cookie Bars
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 12 bars 1x
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!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: dessert
Keywords: lemon cookie bars, lemon sugar cookie bars, lemon lavender cookie bars, lemon lavender desserts, lavender desserts, sugar cookie bars, lemon desserts
These cookie bars are SOOOOO good! I made them for the 4th anniversary of some good friends since the traditional 4th anniversary gift is fruit and flowers. Of course I had to sample them before giving them away! They are so easy to put together, and I will make them again and again! The lemon flavor is strong and lovely. The lavender doesn’t add any soapy flavor and is just enough to elevate these bars a little beyond your typical lemon bar. They would be perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea!
SO happy to hear this, Carrie! Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback!
I’ve been baking for almost 10 years and have never left a comment/rated a recipe, even though the reviews people leave will sway my decision whether or not to give a recipe a try…. but I couldn’t keep the greatness of these bars to myself! These bars are like lavender lemon dream bars… soft as a cloud, much more angel food cake-like than a sugar cookie but much more cookie-like than an angel food cake. I couldn’t find any lavender extract so I used dried culinary lavender instead and they turned out SO amazing, I can’t wait to try this recipe with the lavender extract to take the lavender flavor up a notch. The lavender is subtle, and the lemon is bright and fresh, the bars are so so so soft, and don’t get me started on the glaze! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, I will absolutely be making this again and again and again…
Oh my gosh, THANK YOU for taking the time to leave feedback! I love that you loved these! I think lemon and lavender are a match made in heaven 🙂
Great! I love trying recipes using lavender, rose etc. But “old lady???” Some people of a certain age may find this, at best unenlightened and outdated, at worse offensive and ageist.
It was said in jest (which is pretty obvious if you pay attention to the tone I use in all my posts). Apologies if I offended you, of course – that is never my intention with anything – but I am not ageist. It was a joke. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
How dare you make a joke! 😉
So excited to make these when I get my hands on some lavender extract!
Oh my gosh. You sound like you ARE an old biddy LOL What a ridiculous comment to leave. You must be SUPER fun.
Keen Aussie here. How much is 1 stick of butter?
1 stick of butter is 113 g. Hope this helps!
I was wondering, I don’t have lavender extract, but I do have dried lavender buds. How could I substitute them for the syrup?
Hi Peyton. I have not tried this myself, so I don’t have much insight. Other readers have commented that they did use dried lavender instead of the extract, so hopefully they will see this and can weigh in. Sorry about that!
These. Are. Fantastic.
I just served my first ever Afternoon Tea yesterday, and these were a showstopper! The lavender and lemon flavors compliment perfectly. My pantry smells like a soap factory (with the lavender extract and flower petals in there) but these weren’t even reminiscent of soap AT ALL. Perfect! Absolutely perfect! Thank you!
They turned out well! I do have a question: I noticed my bake dipped in the middle, so it created a pool when I poured on the icing. I am wondering what I could do next time to ensure an even surface for the bake? Thank you again for sharing this recipe!
This looks so good! Do you make any other kinds of bars with this base?
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Hi! I am making these for a tea party for 60 people. Do you think if I 4x the recipe it would bake ok in a full sized sheet pan? I am planning on cutting them then doing a pour-over icing to get more on each side of each piece. Can’t wait to try them!
Oh gosh, I wish I could give you an assured answer, but I’m not positive about 4x the recipe. Perhaps it would be safer to do two double batches in 9 x 13 pans? I haven’t tested anything else, so I’d hate to tell you to do it and then have it not work. Hopefully this helps!
Hi I need to use this for a school cooking project but was wondering if using normal lavender would work instead of lavender extract?
Hi Elise! I have not tested this recipe using actual lavender so I hesitate to tell you it would work – the strength of lavender in all forms (fresh, dried, extract, etc) varies so much, so it’s hard to know how much to use without it tasting like soap when all is said and done. I do recommend using extract in this recipe because that is what I tested, but if you do try out lavender in another form, please report back how it worked! Good luck!