I don't think anyone in my family has a love for all things lemon like I do. Certainly not my hubby. He'll tolerate it for my sake because he knows I adore lemon treats. And I'm slowly bringing Alex to my side. He now loves to make some Homemade Lemonade. But no one exactly jumps up & down in glee like I do when I see a plate of lemon-y goodness. Until my Mom comes into town. We are two of a kind. So when I found out she was coming to stay with us for a few days, I knew it was a good time to break out this recipe. See, she loves lemon treats as much as I do so I knew she'd have a deep appreciation for these too. And I wasn't wrong! These aren't your normal soft, tart lemon bars (although I love those too.) These are more of a cookie-type bar. So you get that lemon-y crunch on the bottom and a smooth creamy topping that makes these really something special. If you are a lemon lover like me and my Momma - you need to try these!
1 box lemon cake mix
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs, divided use
1 block (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a mixing bowl, combine dry cake mix, melted butter and 1 egg. I use my stand mixer for this or you can do it by hand or use a handheld electric mixer. Whatever strikes your fancy. It will look crumbly.
Press this mixture into baking pan. It'll take a little time to do this but hang in there and keep on pressing.
In the same mixing bowl (no sense in making more dishes, right?) Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Gradually add in the powdered sugar.
Add in lemon juice and grated lemon peel and stir until smooth.
When using a stand mixer, it's really important you remember to occasionally scrape down
the sides of the bowl so the mixture gets thoroughly combined. Combine the remaining two eggs and vanilla then add it to the cream cheese mixture. Beat this mixture until well blended.
Reserve 1/2 cup of this mixture (it will be your topping after bars are done cooking.) Put it in the fridge until you need it.
Please note: these bars have to be kept refrigerated so you shouldn't have any weird egg issues. However, if you're still nervous about the eggs in this final topping mixture that is being set aside for later use, you can set aside 1/2 cup of the mixture before you add the eggs in. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture over cake mix base.
Spread out until evenly coated.
Lookin' good already!
Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake. You want the top to still be slightly soft-set.
Allow it to cool completely. Then take the 1/2 cup of reserved cream cheese mixture and pour over top of bars.
Spread out evenly.
Refrigerate until firm. Then cut into bars. Keep bars refrigerated.