These strawberry lemonade cookie bars are soft and lemony, with fresh strawberry lemonade icing spread on top. They’re a lovely pink color with a summery flavor and perfect for outdoor events!
Imagine a tall carafe of strawberry lemonade, rosy pink, with bits of berries floating in it. Now imagine that same delicious flavor wrapped up in a cookie bar. That’s what you’ll get when you make these zingy Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Bars.
Even if it’s not sunny where you are, Strawberry Lemonade Bars can brighten up your day. Consider them any time you’ve got a hankering for something sweet with a touch of tart flavor. They’re beautiful, satisfying, and refreshing all at once.
If you’re craving a feather-light citrus cookie, go for Orange Madeleines. They’re a sponge cake-style cookie that brings a touch of elegance to the table. Feel free to eat them for dessert or breakfast!
Why You’ll Love These Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Bars
- Big flavors – Fresh strawberries and lemon give these bars a bold and bright flavor.
- So easy – They’re a cinch to make, with no scooping required.
- Perfect for beginners – No special equipment needed, as long as you have electric beaters or a stand mixer.
- Simple, delicious icing – Just 4 ingredients come together in minutes to make the delicious strawberry lemonade icing.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Strawberries – Strawberries lend a gorgeous pink color and bright, sunny flavor to the icing.
- Lemon juice – This adds flavor to the cookie base and a lemony zing to the icing.
- Lemon zest – Zest gives a lemony fragrance to the cookie without adding extra liquid.
- Powdered sugar – This helps thicken the icing, sweetens it, and keeps its shape when cutting the bars.
- Butter – Butter makes for a rich sugar cookie base.
- Sugar – Sugar adds sweetness and moisture.
- Egg – The egg binds the ingredients together and adds extra richness.
- Vanilla extract – A cookie necessity, vanilla adds a delicious aroma.
- Flour – This provides the basic structure for the cookie bar base.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda helps the cookie bar rise, so it’s nice and light.
- Salt – Salt balances and enhances the flavors of this dessert.
- Stand mixer or electric beaters – These are essential for creaming the butter and sugar and mixing a smooth icing.
- Baking pan – You’ll need an 8×8-inch baking pan for these cookie bars.
- Parchment paper – This makes it easy to remove the bars from the pan. It also makes cleaning the pan quick and easy.
- Mixing bowls – You’ll need large and medium mixing bowls for this recipe (or a stand mixer bowl as the large one).
- Rubber spatula – Ideal for scraping the bowl and smoothing on the icing.
How to Make
- Prepare the pan – Line an 8×8 pan with parchment.
- Combine the dries – Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cream the butter, sugar, and zest – In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest for about 3 minutes. It should look light and fluffy.
- Add the remaining liquids – Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix until combined.
- Add the dry mixture – Gradually fold the dry mixture into the wet until just mixed.
- Transfer to the pan – Press the dough evenly into the baking pan.
- Bake – Bake for 16-18 minutes. The edges should just begin to brown.
- Cool – Remove from the oven and let the bars cool completely.
- Make the topping – While the cookie base is cooling, cream the butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
- Add the berries & lemon – Toss in the strawberries and lemon juice. Beat until the icing turns pink. The strawberries should be mostly puréed.
- Add the icing layer – When the sugar cookies are cool, remove from the pan and spread the icing on top.
- Cut and serve – Cut into 16 bars and refrigerate until serving time.
- When pressing the cookie dough into the pan, first press the dough into the edges and corners. This helps ensure all the edges of the bars will be well-formed.
- Cut the bars before refrigerating them to get the cleanest cuts.
- Try using raspberries instead of strawberries if you prefer their flavor. Just know that the icing will be a little more tart with raspberries.
- For a slightly sweeter bar, try fresh orange zest and juice instead of lemon.
How to Store
Room Temperature – Store Strawberry Lemonade Cookie Bars in an airtight container at room temperature and eat them within 3 days.
Refrigerate – Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week. Allow them to come back to room temperature before serving so they’re nice and soft.
Freeze – Freeze the cut bars in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer container. They’ll keep in the freezer for 3 months or longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Avoid using lemon extract in this recipe. Lemon extract is far more concentrated than lemon juice. The liquid in the lemon juice is also important to add moisture to the dough.
This recipe’s cookie base is more like a sugar cookie than shortbread. This is because it’s lighter in texture than shortbread, thanks to the addition of egg.
You can make powdered sugar right at home. All you need is granulated sugar, cornstarch, and a good blender. I have all the steps lined out for you in my tips for using powdered sugar.
You can use whichever type of butter you have on hand. But if you use salted butter, cut the salt in the cookie dough in half.
Strawberry Lemonade Sugar Cookie Bars
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ¼ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the icing:
- ½ cup butter
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ⅓ cup chopped strawberries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar to combine. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice. Mix until just combined.
- Gradually fold dry mixture into wet mixture.
- Press dough evenly into baking pan.
- Bake for 16-18 minutes until the edges begin to brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
- While cookie is cooling, beat butter and powdered sugar together until smooth.
- Add strawberries and lemon juice, and beat until icing turns pink and strawberries are mostly pureed.
- When sugar cookie is cooled, remove from pan, and spread icing on top.
- Cut into 16 bars and refrigerate until ready to serve.