Chess Squares. Have you ever heard of them? They are a sinfully delicious bar based on the Southern-originating Chess Pie. My mom always makes them at Christmastime, and I have carried on the tradition with my family.
This year, however, I changed them up a bit. Not because they needed changing. They are completely wonderful without any change. But when all my family were putting in their requests for Christmas treats, my husband requested lemon bars. I don't care for lemon bars. I don't hate them, but they are typically too sweet and gelatinous (using that word will turn anyone off of them, huh?) for my taste. So I asked if a lemon cookie would suffice. He said "Sure, just something sweet and lemony."
Well, it was Christmas Eve and I had two goodies on our grand list of Christmas treats that I still needed to make: Chess Squares and Lemon Cookies. I was sick of being in the kitchen, so I decided to give the Chess Squares a lemon makeover.
The result became a new family favorite instantly! These have plenty of lemon flavor, without the overwhelming sweetness of a traditional lemon bar. I have one son who despises cheesecake and can usually taste the smallest bit of cream cheese in anything I make, but even he loved these. I really think anyone who likes lemon will LOVE these bars. And they are extremely quick and easy to make!
Lemon Chess Squares
Makes 24 bars
Ingredients:1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
3 1/2 teaspoons pure lemon extract (divided)1 brick (8oz) cream cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.
2. Mix cake mix, melted butter, one egg and 2 teaspoons lemon extract until it holds together well. Press in a greased 9x13 baking dish. This is crust.
4. Bake in top-half of oven 40 minutes, or until set and light brown on edges. Cool completely before cutting into squares.