Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lemon Chess Squares

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

1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Duncan Hines)
1 stick butter, melted
4 eggs (divided)
3 1/2 teaspoons pure lemon extract (divided)
1 brick (8oz) cream cheese
2 1/3 cups powdered sugar

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.
3. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add remaining 3 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.  Beat in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract. Pour mixture over crust.
4. Bake in top-half of oven 40 minutes, or until set and light brown on edges. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Live Randomly Simple


  1. Those Look So Yummy! Can't wait to try these for my family.

  2. These sound delicious! I love lemony treats. Visiting from Totally Terrific Tuesdays :)

  3. Visiting from Merry Mondays. These sound so good. I love lemon desserts. Pinning!

  4. Hey Kelly I just want to give you a heads up, the last few times I have been to your site it is not loading properly. I dont know if it is just my browser or what but everything in your side column is gone and the posts are spaced out. One time in the past week it loaded fine, but every other time it has not :( Just wanted to let you know in case it is on your end :)
    Jess @liverandomlysimple Ps, this is going to be featured monday but without your side column I dont have your social media links. Would you mind emailing them to me :) jessbures2008 @

  5. Oh finally loaded. you dont have to send me the social media links. But it was about 4 minutes before your site loaded fully. I would say its on your end if the load time is taking that long. Mine was being goofy a few weeks ago. pain in the butt lol

  6. Sound lovely. I have never had chess squares, but this lemon twist certainly takes my fancy!!

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.