Lemon Lemonies

If you like lemon, you’re going to love these bars.

They’re packed with bold lemon flavor and not for the faint of heart.

 Lemon Lemonies - Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!

I’ve seen recipes on Pinterest for similar bars that are called lemon blondies, lemon brownies, or lemon lemonies. My fast, easy, no-mixer version is heavy on the lemon zing and lemonies seems the most fitting.

If you’re looking for traditional lemon bars or fluffy lemon cake, the lemonies are not it.

 Lemon Lemonies - Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!

They’re the lemon equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero traces of cakiness. They’re tooth-sinkingly dense with subtle buttery undertones like blondies have.

The bars themselves are not super lemony, thanks to melted white chocolate that’s stirred into the batter, but the glaze is pretty zippy. If you want to dial back the overall lemon intensity of the dessert, halve the recipe for the glaze, and drizzle it on like this, rather than flooding the entire surface.

But with lemon desserts, I generally prefer bold lemon flavor, and nothing is every too lemony for my daughter. She picks lemons slices out of ice water and eats them as if they were orange slices. Pucker much.

 Lemon Lemonies - Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!

After pouring the glaze over the warm bars right as they emerge from the oven, it sets up, seeps into the bars, and makes them even moister, softer, and more lemony.

With each bite of a lemonie, I wanted another. It’s the type of food that the more you have, the more you want. The boldly tart-yet-sweet element really kept me going back to straighten the rows.

 Lemon Lemonies - Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!

And the texture is exactly what I want in bars. Dense, rich, moist, chewy, and thick enough to be so satisfying.

Between my row straightening and my family’s love for lemon things, the lemonies disappeared fast.

 Lemon Lemonies - Like brownies, but made with lemon and white chocolate! Dense, chewy, not cakey and packed with big, bold lemon flavor!

Print Recipe

Lemon Lemonies

This fast, easy, no-mixer recipe is perfect for lemon lovers because the bars are packed with bold lemon flavor. They’re the lemon equivalent of moist, fudgy brownies with zero traces of cakiness. They’re tooth-sinkingly dense with subtle buttery undertones like blondies have. The bars themselves are not super lemony thanks to melted white chocolate in the batter, but the glaze is. Dial back the overall lemon intensity of the dessert by halving the glaze recipe, and drizzling it on rather than covering the entire surface. As the glaze sets up and seeps into the bars, it makes them even moister, softer, and more lemony. The boldly tart-yet-sweet element, combined with the thick, dense, chewy texture makes the lemonies richly satisfying.

Yield: one 8x8-inch pan, 9 generous pieces

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: about 27 to 28 minutes

Total Time: about 3 hours, for cooling & glaze setting up

Ingredients:

Bars
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
pinch salt, optional and to taste
Glaze
2 cups confectioners' sugar
about 1/3 cup lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency
about 1 tablespoon lemon zest, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Bars -  In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the white chocolate, butter, and heat to melt, about 2 minutes on high power. Stop to check and stir after 1 minute, and then heat in 20-second bursts, stopping to stir after each burst, until mixture can be stirred smooth. White chocolate is very prone to scorching and seizing up, so watch it carefully and don't overheat.
  3. Wait momentarily before adding the eggs so you don't scramble them. Add the eggs, granulated sugar, lemon juice, and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don't overmix.
  5. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
  6. Bake for about 27 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter; set aside and make the glaze.
  7. Glaze - In a medium bowl, add 2 cup confectioners' sugar, 1/3 cup lemon juice, and whisk until smooth. As necessary, add additional lemon juice (or sugar) to reach desired glaze consistency. I used slightly over 1/3 cup lemon juice. Glaze should be fairly thin and easily pourable.
  8. Evenly pour glaze over bars, smoothing it lightly with a spatula if necessary, but glaze will likely just slide into place.
  9. Evenly sprinkle with lemon zest.
  10. Allow bars to cool in pan uncovered for at least 2 to 3 hours, (or overnight and cover with a sheet of foil) before slicing and serving so glaze can set up. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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103 comments

  1. Made these today, and I’ve got mixed feelings about them. I enjoyed the texture, but I think the glaze made them overly sweet.

  2. Can I double the recipe and put in a 9 by 13 pan? And would baking time change?

    • I’ve never doubled it but I think it will be fine doubling in a 9×13 and with baking, probably a bit longer, slightly? Not sure since I have tried. Just bake until they’re done!

  3. Averie, I finally made these! (They’ve only been calling my name for months.) So buttery and delicious! I doubled the recipe and baked them in my brownie pan that has dividers. I baked them for about 29 minutes. I just made a small amount of glaze to drizzle on, sprinkled on some powdered sugar, and added sea salt on top. We’re really enjoying these!

  4. Hi! I made these this summer and they were the best thing I’ve ever tasted! I made two trays of them last week and both turned hard within a day and the icing became very crumbly. Any suggestions as to how to fix this? They were much more moist when I made them in the Summer (living in FL) and I now live in AL. Any suggestions would be SO helpful. Thanks!

    • Sounds like maybe your new oven is running hotter and they were over-baked. Plus, baking in summer humidity, food always does seem to be more moist. So in the winter, I always reduce baking time.

  5. Is it possible to double all the ingredients except the eggs and still have it “turn out”?

  6. I loved this recipe, I doubled it for a 13×9 pan and they came out great.

  7. Can’t wait to try this for my mom!

  8. I made these a couple months ago and they were so delicious! I doubled the recipe in a 9×13 pan and added some white chocolate chips to the batter as well. I added extra lemon zest to the batter as well because I like the strong flavor. So good! Yesterday I used this recipe to make grapefruit bars for my own blog too and it worked really well! If you’d like, take a look: https://tryhardkitchen.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/grapefruit-brule-bars/ 
    I credit your recipe as the inspiration, of course. :) 

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you and that you were able to tweak it into grapefruit bars (they look awesome, what a fun idea too…love grapefruit!)

  9. They were cakey and dry and not at all what I expected. I cooked for 27 minutes exactly, there were no crumbs so maybe that was too long. I did use white-wheat flour instead of all purpose so maybe that’s why. I should have followed the recipe exactly They also were not yellow at all. Do you use food coloring or alter the photos or do you think was that due to the flour I used?

    As a side comment, shouldn’t reviews be for comments AFTER one actually makes them?

    • You cannot sub white-wheat flour for all-purpose flour which is what I called for in the recipe and expect the same result. Wheat-based flours have a tendency to become much drier when used in baking and they need to generally bake for less time, use more liquid of some sort, etc. I also think that’s what did you in with the color since it’s much more of a beige/dingy flour and regular AP will give you a pop of color. I recommend following the recipe exactly next time and I think you’ll love the bars!

  10. Thank you for this recipe, it is delicious! I’ve created a gluten free version which I put on my blog but I’ve linked back to you. Hope you don’t mind!

  11. I love this recipe!  I use only half the glaze.  While the bars are still warm, I poke a few holes in the top of the bars and pour the glaze over.  The glaze seeps in and the bars are really luscious.  After the bars soak up the citrusy deliciousness, but are still wet, I sprinkle with sanding sugar and top with the lemon zest.  Once dried, you have a gorgeous shimmery top!  These bars earn a marriage proposal (or 3 or 4) from one of my co-workers every time I bring them in to work!  :)  You do have to be a lemon-lover, but if you are, these hit the spot!  They are a very special little cookie.  Thanks again, Averie!

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! I love making ‘poke cakes’ and I bet the poking technique works great here! And I love that you get 3 or 4 marriage proposals from them every time you bring them to work!! :)

  12. I made these exactly as called for in the recipe. The bars were not yellow at all. Cooked for 27 minutes exactly and they were initially sort of dry and bland, but the taste and texture improved the second day. I used fresh lemon juice instead of bottled. Would this account for the difference?

    • Lemon juice will vary based on the lemon- some are just more flavorful than others. That’s true with any fruit from oranges to strawberries.

      I tend to use bottled, organic, 100%-lemon lemon juice because I find it easier and more cost effective than juicing lemons. It has a TON of flavor. You could maybe give something like that a try because these are not lacking in lemon flavor at all for me! In terms of the dryness, maybe your oven runs a bit hotter than mine so baking a few minutes less may help.

  13. These look delicious so I thought  I’d try them. I have been baking for many years and followed the recipe exactly. The bars were not even close to the color of the ones in the picture, they were basically white with a tinge of color but nothing like the picture shows.  I also measured the ingredients for the glaze exactly and when I took the bars out of the fridge the next day, the glaze melted where I cut a piece out and the space filled in with liquid. I was so disappointed. The bars themselves don’t taste too bad but again, look nothing like the pictures. Was yellow food colouring added to make them look so yellow? 

    • Maybe the lighting makes them appear more yellow in the photos than they were in reality; however in reality they were pretty darn yellow! Not sure why yours were as pale.

      With regard to the glaze, that’s why I wrote about 1/3 cup lemon juice, or as necessary for consistency. Sounds like you could have gone with less than 1/3 cup and/or more sugar to firm it up. Now you know in case you re-try. Thanks for trying the recipe.

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