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Lemon Brownies

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Lemon brownies, also affectionately known as “lemonies,” have taken the dessert world by storm, offering a zesty and refreshing alternative to their chocolate counterparts. This delightful confectionery innovation combines the tender, cake-like texture of traditional brownies with the bright, citrusy flavor of lemons, resulting in a unique sweet treat that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves a lingering tang.

The origin of lemon brownies is somewhat nebulous, with no definitive creator or moment of inception. However, it’s clear that they are a product of culinary experimentation and the desire to infuse classic desserts with new life. The idea likely stems from the popularity of lemon bars, another beloved dessert that marries the tartness of lemon curd with a buttery shortbread base. Lemon brownies take this concept one step further by adopting the dense, moist qualities of a brownie.

What sets lemon brownies apart is their texture. Unlike the crisp and crumbly nature of lemon bars, lemon brownies boast a soft and chewy consistency that melts in your mouth. This texture is achieved through careful consideration of ingredients and baking time, ensuring that the final product has the signature “brownie” feel with a lightness that complements the lemon flavor.

The appeal of lemon brownies lies not only in their delightful taste but also in their versatility. They can be enjoyed at any time of the year, making them a perfect dessert for summer picnics, spring brunches, or as a comforting winter treat with a hot cup of tea. Their sunny hue and vibrant taste bring a touch of warmth to any occasion, making them a popular choice for potlucks, bake sales, and family gatherings.

One of the key components of a successful lemon brownie is the quality of the lemon used. Fresh lemons, as opposed to bottled lemon juice, are essential for imparting that fresh, aromatic citrus flavor that is so characteristic of these treats. The zest of the lemon, finely grated and mixed into the batter, contains oils that provide an intense lemon fragrance and taste that simply cannot be replicated with artificial flavors.

Another aspect of lemon brownies that fans appreciate is the glaze. Often, these brownies are topped with a simple glaze made from lemon juice and powdered sugar. This glaze not only adds an extra punch of lemony sweetness but also creates a slightly crisp top layer that contrasts beautifully with the soft brownie beneath. Some bakers even choose to garnish their lemon brownies with additional lemon zest, edible flowers, or a sprinkle of sea salt to enhance the flavor profile.

In terms of health considerations, lemon brownies can be modified to suit various dietary needs. Gluten-free versions can be made using almond flour or a gluten-free flour blend, while those looking to reduce sugar intake might opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. There are also vegan recipes that substitute eggs and dairy with plant-based alternatives, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this delightful dessert regardless of dietary restrictions.

The process of making lemon brownies is typically straightforward and does not require any specialized equipment, making them an accessible option for bakers of all skill levels. The simplicity of the recipe allows for customization, encouraging bakers to add their own twist to the classic formula. Some might incorporate poppy seeds for added texture, while others could infuse the batter with herbs like thyme or basil for a more complex flavor.

Despite their simplicity, lemon brownies do require some attention to detail. Overbaking can lead to dryness, which is the antithesis of what a brownie should be. Achieving the perfect balance between baked and gooey is crucial, and often, the toothpick test—a common method for testing the doneness of cakes and brownies—can be misleading. The center should be set but still slightly soft to ensure that moist, chewy interior.

The cultural impact of lemon brownies is evident in their growing presence on social media and food blogs, where they’ve become a popular subject for food photography and recipe sharing. Their photogenic appearance, with the bright yellow contrasting against the white glaze, makes them particularly appealing in the visual-centric world of Instagram and Pinterest.

In conclusion, lemon brownies are a testament to the endless creativity found in the world of baking. They embody the spirit of innovation, taking a well-loved classic and reinventing it with a burst of citrus flair. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, the allure of creating (and devouring) these tangy treats is undeniable. As they continue to gain popularity, lemon brownies stand as a delicious reminder that sometimes, a simple twist can lead to a whole new realm of culinary delight.

Lemon Brownies

A tangy twist on a classic dessert, this lemon brownie recipe promises a zesty and sweet treat.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 9 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted
  • 4 oz. white chocolate bar I used Ghirardelli
  • 3/4 heaping cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon zest I used 2 large lemons
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoon all purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice fresh

For the glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice fresh


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 inch light colored aluminized steel baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Place the butter and white chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.
  • 1/2 cup butter, unsalted,1, 4 oz. white chocolate barMicrowave for 1 minute (cover with a paper towel to prevent splatter), then stir. Continue heating in ~15-30-second increments, stirring between, until the mixture is melted and smooth but not scorched. Remove from the microwave allow to cool slightly.
  • Add the sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. Rub the sugar and lemon zest between your fingertips to release the natural oils and infuses more lemon flavor into the brownies.
  • Add the eggs and extracts and whisk for about 1 minute.
  • Pour in the white chocolate/butter mixture and fold until combined.
  • Add the lemon juice last.
  • Fold until incorporated, do not over mix. (You can fold in some white chocolate chips in this step too, if desired).
  • Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The edges will look golden brown, (the tops won’t be browned), and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out mostly clean, a few moist crumbs are OK. Allow to cool completely.
  • Whisk/stir together the powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. It should be thick, but pourable. Spread over the cooled lemon brownies with an offset spatula.
  • Garnish with lemon zest on top (optional) and allow to set up for 15-30 minutes before slicing and enjoying.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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