A Family Story About My Mom and Grandma
Ever since I can remember I grew up with home cooked meals lovingly made by mom and dad. Always the whole family was together at the dinner table. I never knew just how important those moments were until later in life. On a weekly basis my mom would bake in the kitchen and I got to be her helping hand, sifting the flour or licking the beaters! The influence of food and being together as a family was something that my mom has always showed me (and my brothers), even as a little girl.
Perhaps it’s been passed down through generations, as my grandmother also found great joy in cooking and baking for the family. When I was a teenager my grandparents moved into our home because my grandfather had a massive stroke (growing up with a family of mostly men it was nice to add another female figure to the mix). The smell of home cooked dishes and fresh baking constantly drifted up from the floors below. We sometimes ate together too, getting to indulge in grandma’s meals and her to die for baking. She loved – loved making my grandfather and her kids happy with their favourite dishes and baking. Just as I see my mother does for us kids and especially my father.
As a kid, my mom had on rotation certain desserts that we got to have after dinner or in our lunch boxes. This was mostly because of dad and his sweet tooth and my mom enjoying making him happy with his favourite treats. Then there were special treats at holidays or our favourite summer vacation at the cottage. On that list has always been my mom’s lemon squares (I think mostly because she loves lemon and rarely got to enjoy what she loves, since she’s always baking for everyone else). I’m not actually sure who ate the lemon squares as kids, we were too busy fighting over anything chocolate but as I’ve gotten older they have become one of my favourites.
I can always count on this recipe and absolutely love sharing these lemon squares with friends and family over the summer for backyard bbqs or cottage weekends (just like when I was a kid).
What’s Special about These Lemon Squares
They are easy to make, sour and tart with a buttery shortbread crust, will feed a crowd and freeze well. My mom has always taught me the importance of baking ahead and freezing recipes! And these lemon squares are perfect for just that.
They even became so popular that these exact lemon squares were on the menu for my dessert company and sold all over the Kawarthas at special events. Sharing these squares means more to me than just enjoying a sweet; I’m sharing a piece of my story told by my grandmother and mother to you.
There is no greater gift than passing down traditions and spending time with family. I’ve had and have such strong beautiful women as role models who’ve passed this down to me. They’ve helped shape me into the little baker that I am and instilled my love for food and my desire to share with all of you – baking for friends!
Happy Mother’s Day to my loving mom and to all those wonderful moms out there!
- All-purpose flour
- Icing sugar & granulated
- Unsalted butter
- Lemon juice & lemon rind
- Baking powder
How To Make Lemon Squares
Step One: Make your shortbread base first by adding flour and icing sugar to a food processor, pulse to combine. Then add butter and pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to your baking dish and using your fingers gently press down to create a flat base. Bake for 10 minutes.
Step Two: Make your filling. Blend eggs and sugar together in your food processor until pale and creamy. Add lemon juice and rind and blend together. Then add flour and baking powder and pulse. Pour the lemon filling over the hot shortbread crust and continue to bake until the middle is set. Once cooled, top with sifted icing sugar and cut into squares.Print
These lemon squares are easy to make, sour and tart with a buttery shortbread crust. They will feed a crowd and freeze well too.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 50 mins
- Yield: 32 squares 1x
- Category: Squares
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- lemon rind from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Icing sugar for dusting on top
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a glass baking dish (9″x13″) with parchment paper, leaving an overhang to easily pull out squares later.
- In a food processor add flour and icing sugar, pulse to combine. Add cubed butter and pulse until fine crumbs form. Transfer to your baking dish and using your fingers gently press down to create a flat base. Note: the base will seem very dry, do not add more butter.
- Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile make your filling.
- Clean out your processor and reuse to make your filling. Blend eggs and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add lemon juice and rind, blend together. Add flour and baking powder and pulse for 5 seconds. Pour filling over hot shortbread crust and continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes until the middle is set.
- Once cooled, top squares with sifted icing sugar.
Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze squares for up to two months.
- Serving Size: 1 of 32
- Calories: 147
- Sugar: 14.5g
- Sodium: 50mg
- Fat: 6.5g
- Saturated Fat: 3.9g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 21.2g
- Fiber: 0.3g
- Protein: 1.8g
- Cholesterol: 38mg
Keywords: Lemon, Squares, Bars, Dessert, Treat, Summer, Shortbread
Lemon squares can be baked longer to achieve a thicker filling. But they are best when they are a little gooey. You want the filling to be set but still soft in the middle. This is achieved by the bake time. When checking to see if the lemon squares are done, jiggle the pan, if the middle is still wobbly they are not done. Continue to bake until the middle (jiggle) is soft and set.
Yes, lemon squares freeze well. Store pre-cut squares in an airtight container for up to two months. Let squares come down to room temperature and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Always cut lemon squares once they are cooled and are at room temperature (or cold). Using a cloth, wet a large sharp knife with warm water, slice the lemon squares and wipe the knife clean. Re-wet the knife and continue to cut and clean the knife until all the squares are cut.
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What a nice tribute to your Mom and Grandmother, Alex! My Mom made these too. Always delicious! 🙂
Yours are GORGEOUS!! How did you achieve that cracked top?
Thanks Lucy, the top cracks naturals. Once you pull them out of the oven they will deflate and crack a bit, you’ll get more cracking once you cut them into spares. When you sprinkle them with icing sugar the cracks will show through too.
Made these delectable lemon squares with my daughter to take to a family gathering. They were a big hit among everyone. Only crumbs to take home . . .
The recipe was easy to follow and so tasty!
So, so happy to hear Diana. Thank you for sharing – this is one of my old time classic recipes that I know I can count on! Happy Baking!
I made these lemon squares last Christmas to put on our platters of Christmas cookies and gave them away as gifts as well. They will definitely be part of this Christmas baking plans too. The lemon adds another fresh flavour to the family favourites of shortbread and other squares. Bonus, they are so easy to make!
So nice to hear Suzie, thank you for sharing. I love how they will become part of your Christmas baking too!
I just made these lemon squares this morning to add to a dessert tray that needed more punch. I had everything I needed in the house and they were really quick to make. They look beautiful!