Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars with Hibiscus Frosting. Another recipe to add to my collection with my beloved Meyer lemons.
Lemon sugar cookie bars for Christmas? Yes! Especially since they are Meyer lemon and this is the time of year when my tree is bursting with ripe lemons. I use them in all kinds of recipes in winter from sweet to savory and cocktails.
One of my most popular recipes are my Meyer lemon crinkle cookies I made for Christmas a few years ago. They have a hint of ginger and cardamom. I love those flavors so much with lemon that I added in just a touch of cardamom to these cookie bars.
I love making cookies but sometimes making the whole recipe in a pan is a little easier and less time consuming than individual cookies. A pan of brownies or cookie bars are also great for parties or potlucks.
These Meyer lemon sugar cookie bars are like a thick, soft sugar cookie. I love soft sugar cookies and the frosted ones at grocery stores are very popular, I like to make my own version at home. The brightness of the lemon and tart hibiscus ( you could also use cranberry instead) balance out the sweetness. I love lemon desserts especially during the winter months.
Tips for Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookie Bars with Hibiscus Frosting recipe success:
- These bars use both lemon zest and juice. Use super fresh lemons since they will be firm and easier to zest
- For max lemon flavor add the sugar and zest to the bowl of your stand mixer ( or large bowl if using a hand mixer) and rub the zest together with the sugar using your fingers. This will disperse the oils into the sugar for more lemon flavor
- These bake in an 8X8 pan. The recipe easily doubles for use in a 9X13 pan
- Butter the pan then cut two parchment strips as wide as the pan but a lot loner so the edges will hang over both sides. This will make it easier to lift the whole slab of cookie bars out after cooling for easier cutting
- Cut any size you want. You can cut 2x2 inch squares like I did ( I tried to do) or smaller.
- These cool all the way in the pan then lifted out before frosting
- The frosting is butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar with a hibiscus syrup ( recipe in notes) added in for flavor and color. You can make a syrup out of cranberries too if you like.
- Speaking of cream cheese these Meyer lemon sugar cookie bars have just a little bit in them which helps them stay moist
- These keep well at room temperature for a few days as well as in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight bag or container for up to three months.
- 1 cup sugar (7 ¼ oz/200g)
- 2 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
- 2 oz cream cheese (60 g) softened
- ½ c butter (4 oz/113 g) softened
- 2 tablespoon meyer lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg, I large egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 ¾ cups AP flour ( 7 ⅞ oz/225 g)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
For the frosting:
- 4 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar ( 4 oz/120g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoon Hibiscus Syrup ( see notes)
Heat oven to 350 Deg F ( 177 Deg C). Prepare a high sided (3” is good) 8x8 inch baking pan with butter then two pieces of parchment paper as wide as the pan but a few inches loner than each edge so some hangs over the edges.
In a bowl of a stand mixer ( or large bowl if using a hand mixer) rub together the sugar and lemon zest. Add in the butter and cream cheese and mix on medium high until light and fluffy, 5-6 minutes. Add in the lemon juice, extract egg and egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat again until well mixed. Whisk together the flour, soda, salt, cream of tartar and cardamom in a separate bowl then add into the sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
Scrape the mixture out of the bowl into the prepared pan and spread as evenly as you can to all edges. I use an offset spatula for this.
Bake for 25- 30 minutes until edges are set and the middle is no longer jiggly.
Cool completely in pan before frosting
To make the frosting mix the butter and cream cheese together then add in the sugar, salt extract and cream and mix until smooth. Add in the hibiscus syrup one tablespoon at a time until you reach desired taste and color. Remove the cookie bars in one piece from the pan, set on a piece of parchment or wax paper on a cutting board. Spread the frosting evenly over the top. Cover with festive holiday sprinkles. Chill then cut into squares. Transfer to a serving platter or plate to serve.
For the Hibiscus syrup combine 1 ½ cups sugar with 1 cup water and 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers in a saucepan and bring to a boil stirring to make sure all the sugar dissolved. Lower to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover the pan with a lid then let steep for an hour. Strain into a jar and chill competely before using. You can also do this with a cup of fresh cranberries in place of the hibiscus. You will have lots of syrup leftover which is great in cocktails and mocktails as well as cake and cookie frostings.