Lemon Birthday Bars

What makes these birthday bars? The sprinkles! I just can’t resist desserts covered in sprinkles, and sugar cookies with a nice thick layer of frosting are one of my favorite treats.  I recently decided to bake up some fun sprinkle covered sugar cookies with my own special twist!

I love making bar cookies because they’re so easy to throw together. I mixed the perfect amount of lemon zest and almond extract into the cookie dough and topped the bars with an ooey gooey frosting made with cream cheese, lemon curd, and powdered sugar. And of course, added a healthy dose of sprinkles on top. My birthday isn’t until tomorrow, but I’ve been enjoying these all week!

Lemon Birthday Bars
Printable Recipe

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup lemon curd
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sprinkles

To make the bar cookies, heat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Mix in egg and almond extract; stir in flour, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt until soft dough forms. Spread dough in bottom of a greased 8×8-inch square pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes at 350˚F or until light golden brown on the edges and a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make the frosting, place cream cheese and lemon curd in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread frosting evenly over cooled sugar cookie bars and top evenly with sprinkles. Cut into 16 bars.

Nutrition: 225 calories, 13.8g fat, 0.3g fiber, 2.9g protein per bar
Cost: $0.34 per bar

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31 Responses to Lemon Birthday Bars

  1. Happy birthday!! I am a September baby as well (the 7th!). These bars look perfectly celebratory. Hope you have a wonderful long weekend!

  2. Erin says:

    Happy birthday to you! These sound perfect.

  3. Kelly says:

    I love bar cookies for all the same reasons and just posted a recipe for some (Whopper Blondies) on my blog today. I’ve never been a huge fan of lemon but I’ve been thinking I should change that since everyone else I know seems to enjoy that.

  4. shannon says:

    early happy birthday :) these look fantastic, i’m glad i’ve changed my tune about lemon!!

  5. Happy early birthday! These bars look great; the almond extract in the cake and the lemon curd in the frosting sound especially delicious :). I hope you’re doing something fun to celebrate this weekend!

  6. Joanne says:

    Happy almost birthday, love! Sprinkles definitely make anything and everything birthday-esque. These seem like the perfect way to celebrate!

  7. Daisy says:

    these are so pretty! Happy early birthday!

  8. Christine says:

    These look wonderful. Happy birthday!

    I have a question- how do I make, or where do I get lemon curd?

  9. Juliana says:

    Kerstin…Happy Birthday! Bars like this I do not need excuse to make them…they look delicious.
    Hope you have a wonderful B’day and a great Labor Day weekend :-)

  10. happy birthday! these look like a fabulous way to celebrate :)

  11. blond Duck says:

    I like anything with sprinkles!

  12. Megan says:

    Happy early birthday! September birthdays are the best!! I love sugar cookies with lots of frosting too, so these look amazing to me.

  13. Michelle says:

    Happy birthday, Kerstin!

  14. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    If someone made me this for my birthday I would be one happy camper!

  15. Julie says:

    I missed it but I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Love the bars…I’m a sucker for sprinkles too :)

  16. These look so festive with sprinkles! Happy birthday!

  17. Happy birthday! These look awesome – I adore lemon desserts (and sprinkles!!)

  18. grace says:

    happy belated birthday, kerstin! yes, sprinkles hold a magical power. :)

  19. Kerstin, Happy Belated Birthday! Sprinkles (or Jimmies as we call them being transplanted Rhode Islanders) are wonderful on everything (oh, alright, maybe not EVERYthing). They always make things so festive!

  20. Reeni says:

    Happy Belated Birthday Kerstin! I hope you had a great one. The bars are delectable – love the lemon and almond!

  21. Happy Belated Birthday! I love making my own birthday treats every year, then I know I will get something I like!

  22. yep i’m with you, love a good dose of sprinkles every now and then.
    and happy birthday sweet girl.
    hope you had a fabulous one.

  23. L'Chicken says:

    I think you just ran away with my culinary heart. Your recipes keep getting more and more drool-worthy. And I’ve been sold on your style for years!

  24. I love lemony desserts! And bar cookies (and brownies!!) are my favorite :)

  25. Marjorie says:

    These look wonderful! I am a big fan of anything lemon and lemon curd is one of my favorite things. I can’t wait to try this recipe. All your pictures are fantastic I could use some pointers for my web site. Thanks for the recipe, I will keep checking back for more delicious dishes.

  26. Thanks for all the bday wishes!

    Emily and Megan – Hope you had great bdays too!

    Christine – I got mine at Trader Joe’s. You can also definitely make it, but I’ve never done that myself so I’m not sure which recipe to recommend.

    Josie – Aww, thanks, that means so much coming from you :)

  27. Marjorie says:

    I made these last week and found them to be wonderful. Next time I would double the cookie recipe and keep the frosting the same. I had left over frosting I put in the freezer for the next time I make them. Maybe I will make them for my birthday thats comming up in November. Thanks for all your terrific recipes I love them.

  28. Marjorie – I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

  29. Marjorie says:

    Tomorrow is my birthday so I am making them for myself. They are delicious as I have already made them once a few months ago. They are not listed in your index so it took me a while to find the recipe again. Thanks again for all the wonderful recipes.

  30. Hi Marjorie – Happy Birthday!! I just just added the recipe to the index, thanks for letting me know I forgot to put it there!

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