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Lemon Walnut Squares – a Cookie Dreams are Made of

lemon walnut squares

Lemon Walnut Squares

Christmas is upon us! And no, I am not even near ready for it. You know how you’re doing just fine toodling down the highway of life and then you hit a pothole or there’s been a rockslide and you have to use the thirty three mile detour and you’re running out of gas? You get back on track eventually, but it sure messes up your well laid plans. Well, that was my life this past week, except that we were literally toodling down the main thoroughfare in town and were t-boned as I was taking the kids to school. No one broke anything (except the cars), it wasn’t my fault and thank goodness I wasn’t wearing my flannel owl nightshirt (like I had been the previous morning). Thank God for small miracles. But, by the time the accident cleared and I had talked to the insurance company, borrowed a car,  and taken Coco to the doctor to get her neck checked out another vital pre Christmas prep day was down the drain.

I’m working on getting back on track;  The other day I made three big batches of cookies for three Christmas parties that same day. My Mom would make these delightful lemony bar cookies only once a year at Christmas time and I would be in charge of eating up all of her supply as fast as I could. I was surprised when she told me she called them Walnut Squares because I remembered them having a strong lemon taste. Perusing my cookbooks, I found many variations and names for the cookie ranging from English tea squares to Walnut Squares to Dream Squares to Coconut-Walnut Bars. I think Lemon Walnut Squares describes them best. Some versions call for a shortbread style base layer and some a brown sugar base (1 cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 cups flour and a pinch of salt), some versions use pecans instead of walnuts, and some versions have no glaze/ frosting and some have a full on cream cheese frosting on top.  I like the version with the shortbread style base with walnuts and a lemon glaze. That’s the beauty of recipes, you can tweak them to your taste. This is as close to my mom’s version as I can come. And, I think they met with her approval as I saw her stuffing her purse with as many as she could fit in at yesterday’s party {smile}.

Lemon Walnut Bars


  • Base Layer:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups flour
  • pinch of salt
  • Filling:
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 T. flour
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut
  • Lemon Glaze:
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 4 T. lemon juice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cream butter and powdered sugar together. Mix together flour, cornstarch and salt and add to butter mixture. Mix thoroughly. Press into 11.5 inch x 17.5 inch pan or (2) 13x9 pans (layers will be thinner.) Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  2. Beat eggs and brown sugar until very light. Beat in flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. After thoroughly mixed, fold in coconut and walnuts. Pour on top of base layer and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  3. Make glaze by mixing together melted butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Pour glaze over bars while they are still hot.
  4. Cool and cut into 1 inch squares.

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • beth hamlin December 16, 2014, 10:48 pm

    I love the story that accompanies this recipe post Joan. My mom had a bar similar to this, but with apricot instead of lemon. I recall liking them – – however lemon is always a huge draw for me. So thankful you’re all ok – – so sorry about the car accident…particularly this time year. Merriest Christmas Joan!

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