Fudgy, lemony and irresistible. The texture of these Best Ever Lemon Brownie Bars is very similar to brownies and the glaze is like pure sunshine. Perfect for summer entertaining and picnics. Recipe includes an equally irresistible gluten free option.
A Ray of Sunshine in Bar Form:
Best Ever Lemon “Brownie” Bars
Friends, get your pucker on! For some serious lemony goodness.
Have you seen my Lemon Love board over at Pinterest? As one of my sweet followers commented, it is seriously out of control. 😉 Hey, I love lemon! In fact, each morning I enjoy a warm mug of lemon water sweetened with stevia before breakfast. But, my reasons and the health benefits for doing so are for another post. For now, we are talkin’ pure Lemon Brownie Bar indulgence.
Also, have y’all seen some of the Lemon Brownie Bars floating around over at Pinterest? Ever since I spotted these beautiful bars, I have had designs on them and immediately placed them on my “to bake ASAP” list. I baked the original recipe first, but I couldn’t resist tinkering with it. Then, I simply could not resist baking these incredible bars with C4C (Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour) to once again put the proverbial “rubber to the road” in a recipe test drive. Once again, this spectacular gluten free flour blend did not let me down. In fact, in this particular recipe, C4C performed flawlessly. No one, and I mean no one, will even know these bars are gluten free! That’s a bona fide promise.
Lemon Brownie Bars seems like a strange name for these sunny yellow bars due to the word “brownie” which conjures up thoughts of decadent chocolate brownies. However, in their defense, and in defense of the original recipe developer (who must have named them), I must admit that they should not be called simply Lemon Bars as this would lead to major confusion with the traditional recipe for the ol’ classic. In fact, I believe the word “brownie” should stay as it is definitely fitting – especially considering the texture.
Texture, folks. We’re talkin’ brownie texture in this sublime (sublemon?) bar. I have to say, these are the most magical bars I have ever baked. Ever. I was amazed that this simple recipe, with so few ingredients, could impress me as much as it did. These lemony brownie bars taste phenomenal and are just plain addicting!
What will be surprising to many bakers is how easily these Best Ever Lemon Brownie Bars pull together. They are “easy peasy lemon squeezy” in the truest sense of the popular phrase. In fact, the most time-consuming part is zesting and juicing the lemons. However, the payoff for this “hard work” is huge. Talk about the ol’ “bang for the buck”! Everyone will think you spent much more time creating these gems. After sharing these babies, family and friends will love you more and complete strangers will become instant friends. 🙂
Four Important Tips for Baking Success for the “Best Ever” Lemon Brownie Bars
This is what I have learned after making these Lemon Brownie Bars four (4) times this past week.
- Be sure to bring butter fully to room temperature. It is imperative to have your butter softened to room temperature as outlined for the second tip.
- Mix the ingredients in the order stated in the recipe. The fat in the softened butter coats the flour and sugar then becoming well saturated thus creating a very moist and exceptional crumb. Do not cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs and flour mixture. This will create a too “cakey” texture and drier crumb. Remember, we are after dense and fudgy here.
- After blending together the dry ingredients, do not “beat” in the butter, eggs, lemon juice and zest and then continue beating for 2 minutes or more. This is a serious “no-no” and will just cause the batter to become aerated (incorporating air). This will then cause too many air pockets after baking as well as create an undesirable drier crumb. It is essential to “stir” in, by hand (or using the ‘stir’ setting of a stand mixer), the wet ingredients and not aerate the batter. This is how the fudgiest of brownies are mixed, by hand. Again, fudgy is what we are after.
- Do not overbake. Just as with chocolate brownies, overbaking will create a dry brownie. Bake for exactly 25 minutes and no longer. Be sure that your oven is properly calibrated or use an oven thermometer to ensure the proper temperature.
What makes our Best Ever Lemon Brownie Bars wicked good? Fudgy and lemony with a moist, light and tender crumb, these citrus bars are irresistibly good and are made in a snap. The ratio of ingredients and techniques used in our recipe make these scrumptious bars easy to prepare while the tips ensure baking success. The lemon glaze is divine and keeps these bars moist. Casual or elegant, these delightful brownie bars are perfect for summer entertaining and picnics. There’s even an option for an equally irresistible gluten free option that will knock the socks off the entire gluten free crowd! Real deal, no joke. Wicked good, indeed.
For the lemon lovers in your life, bake up some Best Ever Lemon Brownie Bars to serve up as a special spring or summer treat. They’re just perfect for outdoor entertaining and picnics!
Below is a Pinterest-friendly sized image to pin at Pinterest!
Fudgy, lemony and irresistible! The texture of these citrus bars is very similar to brownies and the glaze is like pure sunshine. Perfect for summer entertaining and picnics! Recipe includes an equally irresistible gluten free option.
- For the Lemon Brownie Batter
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal®
- 1 cup (200 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
- ½ teaspoon (2.4 grams) kosher salt
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg white (mine weighed 137 grams w/o shells)
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon (7 grams) freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (40 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- For the Lemon Glaze
- ¾ cup (94 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (20 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2½ teaspoons (5 grams) freshly grated lemon zest
- Special Equipment & Supplies
- Parchment paper for lining baking pan, such as Beyond Gourmet™
- Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 9×9-inch metal baking pan with shortening. (I like to use my Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch® Nonstick Square Cake Pan.) Line pan with baking parchment so there is an overhang. Do this by measuring parchment 4 inches in length additionally at each side of pan. This will allow 2 inches of coverage on each end once folded and tucked in. This will create “handles” which will help removing bars from pan and to transfer to cutting board to cut into even bars after cooling.
- Prepare the Lemon Brownie Batter: Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt until well combined. Add the butter and mix until well combined, but do not “beat” at high speed which would incorporate too much air.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, lemon zest and juice together. Scrape and pour into batter using a rubber spatula. Mix together on low mixer setting until well blended and smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary with rubber spatula. Or, stir by hand using a rubber spatula until well blended and smooth. Do not “beat” at high speed with mixer.
- With a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown around the edges and firm to the touch in the center, about 25 minutes. (Do not bake over 25 minutes or the brownie bars will be too dry.) Transfer to wire rack and allow the brownie cake to cool at least 1 hour before removing from pan. Cool completely before spreading on glaze.
- Use the baking parchment on sides of pan to lift brownie cake out and transfer to cutting board. Once the brownie cake is completely cool, prepare the glaze.
- Prepare the Lemon Glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice and zest until smooth and creamy. Pour glaze over cooled brownie cake and spread evenly over the top using a metal angled icing spatula or icing spatula.
- Allow glaze to dry slightly on the surface before cutting into bars and serving. Store in airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
For Gluten Free Option: Substitute 1 cup (128 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour, available at Williams-Sonoma, for regular all-purpose wheat flour called for in recipe.
Be sure to bring butter fully to room temperature. It is imperative to have your butter softened to room temperature as outlined in the next tip.
After measuring confectioners’ sugar for glaze, sift to prevent lumps.
If making the glaze in advance, keep it covered with plastic food wrap to keep it smooth and prevent it from drying out.
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