Lemony Ice Cream Squares

lemony ice cream squares copy

Most people dream about standing naked in front of a large crowd or teeth falling out at a rapid rate. Not me. I dream about food, it’s kind of a problem. This past week I dreamed about ice cream sandwiches every single night. I was eating them, buying them, and making them every time I closed my eyes. I figured that this must be some kind of sign from a parallel universe so I decided to make the ultimate ice cream sandwich. I can’t tell if I’m a genius or a crazy person, but what i do know is that this icy treat is a delicious mashup of lemon squares and ice cream. To create this crazy concoction, we start with buttery shortbread cookies that have just the slightest hint of lemon. Then we whip up some of Ina Garten’s luscious lemon curd. It’s sweet and zingy without being tart. After the lemon curd has cooled, we’ll move onto the main event. I’ll show you how to make the creamiest vanilla ice cream base on the planet and then we’ll swirl in our lemon curd from earlier. If you’re just looking for a tasty cookie or an outstanding lemon ice cream recipe then don’t fret. But if you’re willing to make the trip to crazy town with me, I can assure that you will not be disappointed.


Lemon Shortbread

Yields 24 squares

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 2 13×9 cake pans with parchment and lightly grase. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub the zest and sugar between your fingers until the sugar is fragrant. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon sugar, butter, salt, and lemon juice. Use an electric mixer to cream everything together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the flour.

3. Divide the dough in half and press into each of the prepared cake pans. Prick the dough with a fork.

4. Bake the short bread for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a light golden brown.

5. Remove from the oven and loosen the edges with a knife. Allow the short bread to rest for 5 minutes. Remove the shortbread from the pans using the parchment as a sling. Cut the shortbread into 12 pieces using a very sharp knife. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Buttery Lemon Shortbread

lemon curd ingredients

Luscious Lemon Curd

Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 2 lemons
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • pinch of salt

1. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest of 2 lemons. Avoid the white pith. Place the zest and the sugar into a food processor and pulse until the zest is minced into the sugar.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs 1 at a time and then add the lemon juice and salt.

3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the curd the entire time. The curd will thicken at 170 degrees, or just below a simmer. Use a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight before using it in the ice cream.

lemon ice cream

Lemon Swirl Ice Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups luscious lemon curd

1. Heat 1 cup heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a small pot over medium heat. Cut the vanilla bean pod in half and scrape the seeds into the heated milk mixture. Add the vanilla bean pod to the mixture and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the milk mixture to steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean.

2. Wash a food storage container thoroughly until no food smells remain. Pour the heated mixture into the clean container along with 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 cup whole milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. stir well. Allow to chill for 3 hours or overnight.

3. Add the ice cream base to the ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream is churned, pour a shallow layer into a clean, freezer-safe loaf pan. Spoon a layer of lemon curd over the ice cream and gently swirl with the tip of a knife to create a marble pattern. Repeat with the rest of the ice cream and lemon curd. Place the ice cream into the freezer and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

4. To assemble the ice cream bars, heat 2 shortbread squares in the microwave for 30 seconds. Using a sharp knife, slice off a piece of the ice cream. Place the slice onto one of the cookies and top with the remaining cookie. Enjoy! 🙂

lemon swirl ice cream 2 copy

lemony ice cream squares 2

lemon swirl ice cream