Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars

Since I have the winter doldrums, I decided to brighten things up with a snappy lemon bar.

Super easy lemon bars--the white chocolate in the base is the perfect balance for the tangy lemon curd.  #desserts #recipe #lemon

These are not your standard lemon bars with shortbread crust and a tangy, tart filling.

While I do love a good, classic lemon bar, these were certainly a nice change.  More like a blondie in taste and texture than a traditional lemon bar, the white chocolate in the base of these balanced the tanginess of the lemon curd perfectly.

I know that many people hate the word “curd,” and truth be told, it’s not one of my favorite sounding words, either.  But I do love  lemon curd.  I might have just eaten a spoonful (or two) of this straight from the jar when making these.

I’m all about quality control.

In fact, I’m so all about quality control, that I tested a number of these bars just to make sure they were good enough to post.

Super easy lemon bars--the white chocolate in the base is the perfect balance for the tangy lemon curd.  #desserts #recipe #lemon

Yep.  They definitely were.

And, if you’re totally opposed to lemon curd, you could easily substitute any low-sugar jam or preserves.  Just choose something that is a little on the tart side to balance out the sweetness of your bar.  Raspberry would be awesome–and perfect for Valentine’s Day!

This recipe came straight from Shauna Sever’s book, Pure Vanilla.  I talked about her book before when I made her Vanilla Nougat Candy Bar Bites.  Seriously, Shauna is amazing.  I’m still working my way through making every doggone recipe in this book and it has yet to disappoint.


Totally worth it, though.

Super easy lemon bars--the white chocolate in the base is the perfect balance for the tangy lemon curd.  #desserts #recipe #lemon

Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, chopped and divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ cup lemon curd
  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350. Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on 2 sides of the pan.
  2. In a double-boiler or a heat-proof pan, combine butter and chocolate. Stir constantly, until mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar and salt.
  3. Whisk in your eggs, 1 at a time, and then whisk in extract and vanilla bean paste/powder. Gently fold in your flour with a spatula. When just a few streaks of flour remain, fold in the remaining 2 ounces of chocolate. Pour batter into prepared pan—it will be thick.
  4. Dollop lemon curd on top of your mixture by tablespoonfuls. Using a knife, swirl the curd into your batter. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Using the foil/parchment overhang, lift out the entire block and cut into 12 squares.

Happy Monday, everyone!

And, if you haven’t already, make sure to go enter to win a new Kindle Fire!

XO, Ashley

Don't stop here! Check out this other yummy stuff...


  1. Love all things lemon and vanilla so I know I will love these for sure! Beautiful pictures Ashley! 🙂
    Liz recently posted..Banana-Peanut Butter Chip BrowniesMy Profile

  2. Opposed to lemon curd? There are people who feel that way? I could eat it by the spoonful. Actually I DO eat it by the spoonful. LOVE these bars Ashley!
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets recently posted..Tiramisu Cheesecake TrifleMy Profile

  3. Love the idea of using more a blondie base for lemon bars! Sounds wonderful!
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction recently posted..Spiced White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal CookiesMy Profile

  4. It’s just not right to be opposed to lemon curd 🙂 I love the stuff, love making it as well! These bars look delicious 🙂

    • Making my own lemon curd is next on my list of things to try…but I have a feeling I will end up eating it all with a spoon before I can use it for anything else!

  5. I can’t wear anything but elastic pants either! Blah 🙁 if it weren’t for yummy desserts or chips and dip, I’d probably be model thin. Sadly, I have no resistance against either, especially lemon and white chocolate desserts. Especially if those are blondies because that’s my all-time favorite food! Ash, these are simply amazing and I am drooling.
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..Cake Batter Oreo-Stuffed Funfetti CookiesMy Profile

  6. Oh Ashley, These are amazing! I’d be wearing stretchy pants too. 🙂 Gorgeous photos!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted..KitchenAid Mixer Pin It to Win It Giveaway!My Profile

  7. I’m not a big fan of the word curd, but I love lemon curd anyway. These look incredible!
    Natasha recently posted..Red Velvet Cake Milkshake ShootersMy Profile

  8. a lemon blondie bar. now there is a unique dessert! something I know I would love Ashley. I love lemon desserts and I love blondies. 🙂 I think you made these for me. 🙂

  9. I am all about product tasting and quality control…it’s why my jeans and I are at odds right now! I love bars that have blondie texture so much more! And with lemon curd in them? Holy smokes! These just look so delicious!!!
    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Thank You Berry BasketMy Profile

  10. Oooh, love the combination of lemon and vanilla. The vanilla takes a little bit of the citrus bite out. Thanks so much for sharing these.

  11. These look AH-MAZING! I love the spin on blondies and lemon squares. I want to nibble on one right now!
    Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen recently posted..Blondie Lolly PopsMy Profile

  12. Ashley your photography is just so lovely and cherry and bright! I could stare at your pics for days. Or eat one of these lovely bars for days 🙂
    Averie @ Averie Cooks recently posted..Nutella Chocolate Chip BaklavaMy Profile

  13. These look so delicious! I have so MANY lemons right now! I need to use them up and this recipe looks like a winner. I have never really had a lemon blondie and my tastebuds are telling me I need one! Beautiful photographs! These look good enough to eat 😉
    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen recently posted..Lemon Crumb BarsMy Profile

  14. I love this recipe idea but don’t know where to get vanilla bean paste or powder or lemon curd? any suggestions?

    • Hi Andreia. I am able to find lemon curd at my local Kroger and Wal-Mart. It is usually next to the canned pie fillings. I purchase my vanilla bean powder at our local spice market (they have awesome prices, so I’m very lucky!). I’m not sure where you’re located, but even your local markets may have it. If not, Williams-Sonoma carries it (as does Amazon). It can be a little pricey, but the flavor can’t be beat. 🙂 Or, you could just get whole vanilla beans and scrape ’em out yourself. Hope this helps!

  15. anna kamille says:

    hi! i just stumbled upon your website when i was looking for a red velvet cookie recipe and now I’m hooked! 🙂 i can’t wait to try this recipe. do you have a recipe for lemon curd? thanks!

  16. Queen Vanilla says:

    Oh my….these look amazing!! I am going to make these as soon as i finish leaving this message. Thank you so much for this recipe
    Sincerely Queen Vanilla.


  1. […] I love smearing lemon curd on just about everything: scones, toast, muffins…or stuffing it inside some Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars. […]

  2. […] I love smearing lemon curd on just about everything: scones, toast, muffins…or stuffing it inside some Lemon-Vanilla Dream Bars. […]

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