By Leslie Kelly
January 18, 2017

These adorable treats were the most clicked on newbie when it first posted on Allrecipes, but that sweet image prompts the question: Can you really call something a brownie if it's not, you know... brown?

So cute, yet are they really brownies? Photo by Marianne

There's nothing new about appropriating a classic name and giving it an unexpected twist. Hello, Pumpkin Snickerdoodles! And who doesn't love a Brookie? Half cookie, half brownie, 100 percent awesYUM. Still, these lemon brownies seem more like lemon bars, don't they?

Well, it turns out that lemon brownies have a bit of history with surprising roots in the U.S., down in the Deep South. Jesse Oleson Moore, aka CakeSpy, said she first heard about this citrus-y spin on a brownie when Paula Deen rolled out an orange brownie on her Food Network show more than 10 years ago. There are also hundreds of gorgeous lemon brownie photos on Pinterest. And the recipe has been a bright spot on many food blogs. There's even a Weight Watchers-inspired gluten-free version from Gluten-Free on A Shoestring.

Since first debuting, more than 100 have made these golden brownies, and it's earned an average of 4 stars from 22 reviewers. So, yay! No matter what you call them, these chewy cookie bars certainly do seem to speak to a growing number of sweets enthusiasts who might be looking for an alternative to the ubiquitous chocolate brownie.


Get more top-rated recipes for our best brownies and lemon bars.