Lavender Vanilla Lemon Bars – Tart & gooey lemon bars flavored with a hint of lavender and vanilla bean
St. Patrick’s Day is behind us so that means spring is right around the corner! The weather may not feel like spring yet but that won’t stop me from enjoy some yummy spring treats.
Lemon is technically in season during the winter but it is associated with spring and summer because of the beautifully bright flavor and yellow color. For this reason, it’s a great flavor to welcome in the season and also great for celebrating Easter next month.
I am usually opposed to lemon sweet treats but lately I’ve been giving them a second chance, especially when they are used in tart treats like this raspberry lemon sorbet or this refreshing peach lemonade. Not too long ago I had my first lemon bar and was shocked at how much I love them. They were super duper tart but also creamy like a thick custard. I loved them!
Because of my new-found love for lemon bars, I just had to share a recipe for them. But I wanted to make these a little special for you guys. And thus was born my Lavender Vanilla Lemon Bars!
My friend Elizabeth practically begged me to make a dessert with lavender. “Lavender?” I said. I was a little skeptical of the floral flavor, especially since I already hated anything with rose or rose water in it. It tasted like I was eating a flower and I was not about that life.
However, I was already planning to make some killer lemon bars to share my new love for this tart treat and since I knew lemon and lavender went well together, I thought, “Hey, I’ll just make these into lavender lemon bars” and give this lavender thing a shot. The worst that could happen is that I didn’t love them but Elizabeth would still be happy so it would all work out.
How are these lemon bars made?
To make these bars extra special, I made them with lavender and vanilla. I needed a little insurance for these bars to make me feel better about using the lavender. The vanilla bean was just the trick!
The lavender and vanilla is added to traditional lemon bars through the sugar. I made a lavender vanilla sugar by processing edible lavender with vanilla bean specks and granulated sugar. When I opened the food processor to reveal the processed sugar, the smell was heavenly and it overwhelmed my senses! I could already tell these lemon bars were going to be killer.
To make the lemon bars, we first make a shortbread crust and bake it until it’s golden brown. We use some of the lavender vanilla sugar in the crust to make sure you can get a little of the lavender vanilla flavor in every bite of the lemon bar.
After the crust is ready, we pour in the filling made from eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, and more lavender vanilla sugar and let the bars cook for another 25-30 minutes.
The final verdict
Guys…the flavor of these lemon bars BLEW ME AWAY. Because the lavender was blended right into the sugar, its flavor was more subtle and not overpowering in the slightest. Plus, its bright, fresh scent was the perfect pairing for the tart lemon. I guess you could say this girl’s mind is officially changed!
Tips & Tricks
As always, I have a few tips to help you get through this recipe without a hitch:
- To ensure a clean cut, please please make sure to chill these lemon bars for at least 8 hours, but preferably overnight. This will make sure the bars are super firm and won’t look messy as you cut them.
- Line your baking pan with aluminum foil to help you pull out the bars easily before you cut them. I HATE cutting bars in the baking pan so I always line with parchment paper or aluminum foil to help pull them out of the pan and cut them on my cutting board.
- This recipe calls for culinary or edible lavender. I haven’t been able to find it in stores so I bought mine on Amazon. Here’s a link to the kind I used.
And there you have it – the first treat for Spring! What other treats are you making this season? Let me know in the comments below!
Lavender Vanilla Lemon Bars
For the lavender vanilla sugar:
- 3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon culinary lavender
- 1 vanilla bean
For the shortbread crust:
- 8 ounces butter unsalted, melted
- 1/2 cup lavender vanilla sugar from recipe above
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
For the lemon bar filling:
- 8 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice from about 5 lemons
- 2 3/4 cups lavender vanilla sugar from recipe above
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup all purpose flour
For the lavender vanilla sugar:
- Add granulated sugar and lavender to a food processor. Split vanilla bean down the center, lengthwise, and scrape out the bean specks. Place them in the food processor with the sugar and the lavender for 30 seconds. Set aside.
For the shortbread crust:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13x9 pan with aluminum foil. Spray foil with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk melted butter, lavender vanilla sugar, vanilla extract, and salt together. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until completely combined.
- Pour mixture into prepare baking pan and spread as far as you can with spatula. Using your hands, finish pushing mixture to the edges of the pan so that mixture evenly coats the bottom of the pan.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until top begins to brown. Don't let it get too brown or the crust will be too crispy. While the crust bakes, make the filling so that it's prepared when the crust is done.
For the lemon bar filling:
- Add eggs and lavender vanilla sugar to a large bowl. Whisk together until combined. Add lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk together. Sift the flour on top of the mixture and whisk together, trying to remove most lumps. It's okay if some lumps still remain.
- When crust is done, open oven and slide rack with crust out of the oven about halfyway. Very very gently, pour filling into the pan with the hot crust. Push rack back into oven and close oven to bake for 25-30 more minutes. The bars are done when the center barely jiggles when shaken.
- Remove pan from oven to cool to room temperature. For a perfectly clean cut, refrigerate bars overnight before cutting.
Pin for later:
More treats that you’ll love:
Lemon Poppyseed Pound Cake
Atlantic Beach Pie
Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
I had never made lemon bars before but I love to eat them. My family is also obsessed with lavender (my husband makes an amazing lavender lemonade). So I finally decided to give the recipe a try when neighbors dropped off a bag of lemons for me and I also realized I had a half pound bag of lavender in my pantry too. The lemon bars came out incredible! My husband and daughter can’t get enough of them. The first neighbor I shared with said they were so good and “restaurant quality” and the second neighbor had her eyes rolling into the back of her head and spent a full minute raving about them. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
Celeste Pianezzola says
Your recipe doesn’t seem to produce results that even remotely resemble the picture. The flower petal confetti topping drew me in but mine did not turn out this way. I asked a professional baker I know and she said that it’s likely you used a mix of rose petals and a touch of lavender dusted on the top because that color is far more pink than purple. Did you dust these with more things after baking?
Nope I didn’t dust the bars with more after they baked – what you see is the result straight from the pan. Maybe you used different lavender petals than me? Here is the link to the lavender I purchased on Amazon. I also did not use anything other than this lavender.
This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Wow. This is just completely different and new for me. Surely deserves a try..
These are a great dessert for spring and summer. I love that you have added lavender. I have never baked with it before and now I can’t wait to give these a try!
Yum! These sound so elegant with lavender and perfect for springtime! Love the brightness of the citrus too! Thanks so much for sharing :).
Nicoletta De Angelis Nardelli says
Lemon desserts have my preference! Loving the addition of lavender, here, sounds intriguing. They also look beautiful and perfect to welcome Spring.
Pearl Rodrigues says
Loving the texture of these lemon bars. I’d never imagined lemon bars flavored with a hint of lavender, sounds very interesting and definitely trying it out
Jacquelyn Hastert says
These are the perfect springtime dessert! Lemon goes with everything right now and I am so excited!
Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness says
It took me SO LONG to find lavender that I could cook with, but I finally found it at a whole foods. I love how it makes desserts taste. Your bars sound fantastic!
Danielle Wolter says
lemon sweets are my absolute favorite, but I am swooning at the addition of the lavender. here. such a great idea!
Anne Lawton says
I just love lemony desserts and when they lavender is added, that’s even better!
What a great twist on lemon bars! Can’t wait to try!
Pam Greer says
I love cooking with lavender and these lavender vanilla lemon bars are perfect. Sweet and tart with that perfect bit of floral from the lavender!
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
I’ve never baked with lavender but I can just imagine how delicious it is, paired with the lemon! I just know I’d love these, it would almost be a terrible idea to make them…they wouldn’t last long at all!!
Amber S Battishill says
Oh my goodness, these just have all the flavors of spring! I bet that this combo is absolutely delicious!
What a fun twist on lemon bars! I used to be not a big fan of lemon either but lately I can’t get enough. So this would be fun to try..oh and I have lavender in my cupboard just begging to be used!
I have loved lavender lately! Lavender coffee is my new favorite thing. I bet this would pair so well with it! I’ll have to give this a try!
This is so unique and creative! The flavor combo sounds perfect together!
Lavender and lemon is a different combo and haven’t heard before. But I bet it is tasty.
My hubby loves lemon bars! And I think lavender vanilla is such a nice flavor combo for baked goods. These look delicious!
It’s been a while since I cooked with lavender so this is perfect timing. I am very interested to try these lemon bars – they look delicious and I can use lavender again – win-win. Thank you!
The vanilla and lavender with the lemon sounds absolutely divine! Love the idea!
Caitlyn Erhardt says
These look so yummy! I grow lavender and will def love this recipe during the summer. Thank you!
Kylie | Midwest Foodie says
What a unique flavor combination!! I’ve never thought to combine them but lavender and lemon sounds divine! Pinning for later – my husband will love this recipe!!
I’m not sure I’ve ever tried a lavender dessert before. I bet it’s amazing!
Paula @ I'm Busy Being Awesome says
Such an interesting combination of flavors, so yummy
Anything with lemon has my name on it! Love it
Blogtastic Food says
Big fan of lemon desserts here Sharon!! And I love how you added the lavender!! (: