Lemony Chess Squares

Sometimes you just can’t decide! I wanted to make a great dessert for a friend celebrating a birthday who isn’t really a cake person. Disclaimer – I don’t understand that, cake is heavenly — but I also love almost every dessert so there you have it. Favorites include chess pie and lemon bars so I made what I guess you could call a “mash up†(that may not be a good term for dessert) and made Lemony Chess Squares.

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They a huge hit the kind where everyone gets a little piece then looks around and goes back for me. That’s the best compliment a cook can get.

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It all starts with a shortbread crust. People will tell you to mix this by hand but I say throw it in the food processor and pulse a few time. Done. Pat that in a pan to bake for 15 minutes while you mix up the filling which is basically chess pie with lemon zest and lemon. After your crust cools a few minutes pour in the filling and bake. It comes out of the oven a beautiful yellow color and after it cools and cuts like a dream. No messy little bites. I guess you could sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, but it doesn’t need help to taste delightful and be beautiful. Don’t we wish that was always true! Enjoy!

Tune in to Talk of the Town on Newschannel 5 tomorrow (11:00 AM, April 25, 2023) to see me prepare Whipped Ricotta.

Link to all of Sallie’s Recipes

Lemony Chess Squares

1 ½ sticks butter
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
½ cup cornstarch
½ tsp salt

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1 ½ sticks butter
1 ½ cups sugar
6 egg yolks
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cups buttermilk
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients for crust in a food processor and pulse several times until mixture looks like sand and butter is incorporated. (Or do this by hand in a bowl with 2 forks.)

Press into a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

While the crust bakes make filling: in a large bowl with an electric mixer combine butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add egg yolks one at a time.

Add zest, lemon juice, vanilla and buttermilk. (will look a little grainy)

Mix in flour, baking powder and salt.

Decrease oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Pour filling on crust and bake 25 – 30 minutes until set and just beginning to brown.

Cool before slicing into squares.

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