Lemon and chocolate lovers unite with these super simple lemon brownies! Fudgy, crackle-topped brownies on the bottom; luscious, velvety lemon curd on top…the absolute best of both worlds. Whip up a batch for dessert or tea time, and treat yourself to an amazing mash-up of chocolate decadence and satiny smooth citrus!
The Brownie: Fudgy and Fabulous
This brownie has something for everyone. Crisp edges, gooey center, dense fudge factor…brownie bliss!
With just a couple of tweaks, this tasty treat originally featured in Plum Deluxe’s fudgy Earl Grey brownie recipe becomes a lemon lover’s dream brownie.
You can control the zing factor by choosing how much lemon juice and zest to add to the brownie itself. If you want a strong contrast between the chocolate and the lemon, make a classically chocolate brownie and top it with lemon curd. (You may also consider melting some dark chocolate chips into the batter for a deeper, more intense chocolate taste to contrast the brightness of the lemon.)
For a truly lemony lemon brownie, infused sugar is the way to go! It does require some planning, but the process couldn’t be simpler! Simply add a tablespoon or two of lemon zest per cup of sugar (the recipe requires two cups), and let it sit in an airtight container for a few days. Shake it every so often to really meld the flavors, and that’s that! Extra lemony flavor for your brownie in one simple step.
Overall, the brownie is simplicity itself. The directions are straightforward; the ingredients are super accessible, and it all comes together in no time flat! Just measure, mix, and bake. Serve it forth with your favorite tea, and enjoy!
The Lemon Curd: Silky and Simple
If you love lemon and you’ve never made lemon curd, drop everything! It is ridiculously easy, and so delicious.
Of course, you can always buy store-bought lemon curd for your brownies, but the taste of homemade is amazing, and you will not believe how quickly you can make it! If you have a whisk and some lemons, you can be eating lemon curd in fifteen minutes. (Well…there’s a bit more to it…but not much.)
To assemble, simply add your lemon juice, zest, sugar, and egg to a saucepan, and whisk until it thickens. Once you’re satisfied with the texture, remove it from the heat and stir in your butter. Done.
Lemon curd is a pretty forgiving recipe…you don’t need exact measurements for it to turn out delicious every time. And depending on your tastes, you can adjust amounts to bring out more lemon flavor or a more buttery smooth texture.
Recipes vary wildly with the amount of sugar, lemon juice, and eggs that are added. Feel free to adjust in obvious ways…more sugar for sweetness. More lemon juice for more lemon flavor. Or vice versa.
One of the biggest differences across recipes is using egg yolk versus a whole egg. Egg yolks only will result in a thicker, eggier, more custard-like texture. Using whole eggs will result in a lemon curd that is lighter in both color and texture.
Or customize your curd by mixing and matching—maybe two whole eggs and two yolks, or three whole eggs plus a yolk, or 4 yolks and one egg white…be the master of your own egg-sperience.
I included whole eggs in this recipe for the sake of simplicity and because I prefer a more lemon-forward flavor. For a brighter color and denser feel, use egg yolks only and set aside the whites for a meringue or almond tea cake.
If you like a melty texture, you can throw your lemon curd together as your brownies are baking and slather it on top immediately. For a firmer, more chilled treat, you can make both the brownie and lemon curd in advance and give both a chance to cool before layering on the lemon topping.
The Pairing: Time for Tea
Earl Grey is a classic tea pairing for brownies, and these lemony lemon brownies are no exception!
The sturdy base of black tea stands up well to the dark intensity of the chocolate, and the subtle citrus notes of bergamot meld beautifully with the bright lemon flavors of the curd and optional infused sugar.
Any Earl Grey would be delicious, but I prefer Crème Brulee Earl Grey with these particular lemon brownies. The creaminess of the vanilla extract is a perfect complement to the satiny-smooth buttery curd, and a dusting of orange peel punches up the citrus notes to play very nicely with the zestiness of the lemon.
Similarly, Kitchen Table blend contains a secret citrus blend (including lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit essences) that will add fun nuance to the lemon notes in the brownie. The tea has a little something for everyone with both black and green tea as it’s base, augmented with a peppy twist of lemongrass and rounded out with a sprinkling of rose petals and jasmine flowers.
If you like a side of chocolate with your chocolate, Brunch in Paris black tea, with its cocoa nibs and orange pieces, could be just your cup of tea!
Choose your favorite cuppa, slice yourself a hefty chunk of lemon brownie, and enjoy!
Lemon Brownies Recipe
- 2 cups granulated sugar (infused with lemon peel, optional)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (or favorite 1:1 ration GF flour)
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil*
- Lemon curd (store-bought or homemade, recipe below.)
*can substitute for another 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8x8” pan, or line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, sugar (optionally infused with lemon zest), salt, and baking powder.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, butter, oil, and vanilla extract until well combined.
Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 28 minutes, or until edges are crisp and middle is fairly well set.
Allow to cool if desired, top with lemon curd (recipe below).
Serve with tea of choice, and enjoy!
Lemon Curd Recipe
- Zest of two lemons
- Juice of two lemons
- 3 eggs*
- 6 Tablespoons butter
- Pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
*This recipe uses whole eggs but you can use yolks only
Combine lemon juice and zest, sugar, water, and eggs in a medium saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and gently bubbles, about 10 minutes. (Or until it reaches desired consistency.)
Remove from heat, let stand about 5 minutes. Stir in butter cubes until fully incorporated.
Spoon over brownies immediately, or let sit in refrigerator overnight.
Spread over brownies.
Serve with favorite tea and enjoy!