These super light gluten free lemon brownies are made in the Weight Watchers style and have just 3 PointsPlus per generous brownie. Tart and sweet!
One of my favorite recipes from Gluten Free Classic Snacks is one that you might not expect to find in a book packed full of every packaged cookie, cracker, snack cake, breakfast treat and candy you can imagine. It’s the recipe on page 159 for Gluten free “Weight Watchers” Chocolate Brownies. They’re very lightly sweet, with a deep and rich chocolate flavor, and even though I’m not usually one for feeling guilty about what I’m eating (everything in moderation!), I feel particularly good about those brownies. I think it’s mostly that they taste so decadent without being overly sweet. So when I saw Mel’s recipe for “lemonies,” I knew something like these Weight Watchers-Style Gluten Free Lemon Brownies had to happen. Of course, they’re not brown(ie) at all. They’re yellow. Like lemons. And when you slice the recipe into 12 servings, they only have 3 PointsPlus per bar.
Like all good bar recipes they come together very quickly, even with the glaze. These bars are light and very lemony, and like their Classic Snacks cousins, not at all too sweet. You’ll need two lemons for all that juice and zest. Big, juicy lemons are super affordable in my grocery store right now, so that shouldn’t be a problem!
A few thoughts about nutrition calculators, calorie-counting and Weight Watchers PointPlus values:
- PointsPlus Values: As indicated in the recipe instructions below, slicing the recipe into 12 servings instead of 9 lowers the PointPlus value from 4 to 3. If you are on Weight Watchers, that is very important information. But if you’re not on Weight Watchers (I’m not, but I generally like its philosophy), please note that the underlying nutrition information that informs the points value doesn’t change very significantly when you have the slightly larger serving. Just a thought.
- Fat, Sugar and Calories: I personally do not believe that fat is nearly the culprit in maintaining weight and overall health that sugar is. These bars are low in fat and quite low in sugar without being even the least bit dense or gummy. When I make them again for myself and my family (okay for myself), I will try increasing the butter to 6 tablespoons (84 g) and cutting back the sugar in the bars to 1/4 cup (50 g). Both fat and sugar are tenderizers in baking. Just another thought!
- About the glaze: The glaze layer in this recipe is very, very thin. It juuuuust covers the bars, and adds a lovely pop of lemon and of course some more sweetness. If you’d like to leave off the glaze, I recommend increasing the granulated sugar in the bar recipe to 100 grams (1/2 cup) and adding the 2 teaspoons of lemon zest from the glaze to the bar recipe. That will preserve the bright lemon taste of the bars, and provide the right amount of sweetness without altering the Weight Watchers points or nutrition.
- Copycats: Finally, Weight Watchers does not make a packaged lemon brownie, gluten free or not. Just we do. :)
Weight Watchers-Style Gluten Free Lemon Brownies
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
2 tablespoons (18 g) cornstarch
3 tablespoons (18 g) finely ground nonfat dry milk (can replace 1:1 with extra flour blend but your brownies will be a bit denser)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
3 egg whites (75 g) + 1 whole egg (50 grams, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the glaze
1/3 cup (40 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 small lemon)
1 to 2 teaspoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Make the batter for the bars. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease or line an 8-inch square baking pan and set it aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, nonfat dry milk, baking powder, salt and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the lemon zest, and whisk to combine and break up any clumps in the lemon zest. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the lemon juice, beaten egg whites and egg and butter, mixing to combine after each addition. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer with a wet spatula.
Bake. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the top springs back when pressed lightly on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the glaze and glaze the bars. In a medium-size bowl, place the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon zest. Whisk to combine and break up any clumps in the lemon zest. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and mix well, until a thick paste forms. Add more lemon juice by the 1/4-teaspoon, mixing to combine well, until the glaze falls off the spoon very slowly, in a very thick but pourable glaze. Pour the glaze over the top of the cooled bars and spread into a thin, even layer with a small offset spatula or a butter knife. Allow the glaze to set before slicing into 10 bars. Serve at room temperature.
Nutrition Information for 9 bars:
Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 4
Total Fat: 5.7 g; Total Carbs: 24.5 g; Protein 3.1 g
Nutrition Information for 12 bars:
Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 3
Total Fat: 4.3 g; Total Carbs: 18.5 g; Protein 2.3 g