I stumbled across this recipe and was intrigued by its simplicity. I like things that don’t require a lot of ingredients, because baking isn’t perhaps the cheapest hobby I could have. Especially since I end up giving away most of the results. I was also very curious: what is the difference between lemon bars and lemon brownies? I aimed to find out.
THE RECIPE – LEMON BROWNIES
For the bars:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced (save the other half, you’ll need it for the glaze!)
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Prepare (aka grease) an 8×8 pan. This particular site suggested using the butter wrapper to grease the pan, which I thought was pretty ingenious, so I decided to try it and see if it worked. (Spoiler alert: it seemed to!)
In a bowl of smallish to mediumish size, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt.
Soften your butter, then blend it in with the dry mixture you just created. It will be kind of crumbly.
In a separate bowl, mix together your eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Add to the dry mixture and mix mix mix.
Pour into your prepped pan, and bake for ~25 minutes.
Do you see what I mean, about the simplicity? So easy. So lemony. So… ah, wait. There’s a glaze involved.
I’ve come to be very wary of glaze. I’ve made so many recipes with a lemon glaze that I really don’t even need a recipe or directions anymore. Powdered sugar, lemon juice. Stir. The end. Except this one also uses some of the zest, which I wasn’t 100% sure I’d like (I also don’t like pulp in my orange juice), but I figured I’d give it a shot.
The problem I have with almost every single glaze that I’ve ever made is that it’s been too thin and too runny and it drips all over everything and makes a sticky mess and frequently absorbs itself into whatever baked good it has been applied to, so why bother?
Now, the obvious solution, that FINALLY occurred to me: make the glaze thicker. Maybe also make it a little sooner, so it can set and thicken a bit. It behaves almost identically to the icing for my beloved sugar cookies, so I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner. Add more powdered sugar. The end.
The original recipe called for only 1/2 cup but I ended up using a whole cup. I made the glaze while these were in the oven and so it sat for the last bit of the baking cycle and during the cooling process. It will start to harden a little bit, but if that happens, just stir it up real good and it will be smooth again in no time.
Once the brownies are cool (seriously, the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for them to cool down enough), add your glaze.
LOL J/K. Pour the glaze over the brownies and voila! You’re done.
So what makes these different from lemon bars? I mean, these are technically bars, and they’re lemon… but they’re much cakier, like a brownie. Obviously brownies don’t have to be chocolate, given the existence of “blonde” brownies, so why not lemon? Why not, indeed. These are wonderful. I guess lemon bars traditionally have a custard-like filling with a definitive crust. These… do not.
So I’ve tried them both, and which do I like better? I honestly don’t know. My favorite kind is still these easy peasy ones that my mother makes that has something to do with lemon pudding, cake mix, and frosting. I don’t even know how to make them but she laughs at me every time I ask for the recipe. “It’s so easy!” THEN TELL ME HOW TO DO IT. Sigh.
[Can regular people actually make this? Is it easy?] Did you see how few words I had to use? It took longer to write this post than to make these brownies. I might be exaggerating a little bit but you get the idea.
[Did it require any weird gadgetry or cookware?] Nah. Just a few bowls and measuring devices, plus a pan. A mixer would be nice, too, but you could probably get away with just a whisk.
[How much did the ingredients cost?] Honestly? I have no idea. I had everything on hand except the lemon, and those only cost about $0.70 or so.
[Does it taste as good as it looks? Does it only look good because it was so well photographed?] They taste like lemony goodness. They’re sweet and tart and magical and I’m really not sure that’s something you CAN photograph.
[Weight Watchers Points+] If you cut them into 24 pieces, they will be 3 points each. If you cut them into super tiny bite size pieces like I did (thus, yielding 30), then they’re only 2 points. But you’ll probably eat two.
[Final recommendation] People will love you if you make these. They might curse you a bit, because they won’t be able to stop at just one… but deep down, they’ll love you.