You may have noticed citrus is everywhere. I can’t visit Pinterest, Instagram or my favorite cooking websites without seeing brightly colored limes, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines. I am not complaining mind you, I love it! Citrus is a winter delight and since a romantic holiday is looming I thought I should meld citrus and romance into one scrumptious dessert, and this is what I came up with: “Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone”.
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These lovely cookies are delicate and crispy and slathered in a combination of lemon curd and mascarpone cheese.
I begin with a traditional shortbread recipe but add lemon juice and lemon zest to the dough for a light, lemony cookie!
Served plain these are delightful enough but of course I just couldn’t leave it as is, so I spread on a mixture of mascarpone cheese and lemon curd (affiliate link). Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese. Lemon curd is a tart topping for biscuits and scones.
They were beautiful spread with just the mascarpone and lemon curd but because California has berries all year long I added sliced strawberries, but blackberries and blueberries work too.
… I finished with a light dusting of powdered sugar…
…and one of my favorite final touches, lemon zest! I always use a microplane to zest citrus. (affiliate link)
The Recipe: Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone
Tips and must haves: You will need a hand mixer or bowl mixer, a microplane, an 8 x 8 glass baking dish and unbleached parchment paper. If you would like to make these cookies gluten free, I recommend Jovial GF flour.
Lemon Shortbread Bars with Mascarpone
A light crispy cookie topped with Mascarpone cheese and lemon curd. Top with berries if desired. Gluten free option offered.
- 1 1/4 sticks butter, room temp (plus a little more for prepping baking dish)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus more for dusting)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose or gluten free flour
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Approx 3oz Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
- 3 T lemon curd
- 6-8 strawberries, thinly sliced (any berry will work, and berries are optional)
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- zest of one small lemon
- Preheat oven to 325 and place rack in center of oven.
- Line an 8x8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.
- Use a paper towel to spread a thin layer of soft butter on paper.
- Using a hand mixer or bowl mixer, mix butter and sugars in a large bowl until well blended.
- Add salt, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix till well incorporated.
- Add flour and mix. At first the dough will crumble and fall apart.
- Remove dough from bowl and set on a cutting board or counter and gently knead with hands until dough forms a ball.
- Place dough in prepared 8x8 baking dish and press till dough is evenly distributed in the pan from edge to edge. Dough will only be about ¼ inch thick.
- Sprinkle dough with granulated sugar and bake for 25- 30 minutes or until dough is cooked and slightly golden.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into bar shapes while still slightly warm. Gently remove first bar with a knife and then use a spatula to remove the rest. Place on a rack to cool.
- Use a fork to blend lemon curd and mascarpone.
- Very gently spread mascarpone mixture on each lemon bar.
- Place berries on top.
- Using a screen colander dust cookies with powdered sugar.
- Then sprinkle with lemon zest! Yum!
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post tags: dessert, vegetarian, fruit