Orange Bars

In all my years of baking, I’m pretty sure I’ve never baked anything with oranges. I really can’t say why, other than that I’m not a huge fan of citrus in general. Sure, I like it. But, if given the choice, I’ll usually take chocolate.

In any case, I started thinking about the ubiquitous lemon bar and began wondering why oranges don’t get their own bar. So, I decided to give it a shot.

First, I started with a sweet almond shortbread crust. My love of shortbread is well-documented. Not only do I love shortbread cookies, I also adore a shortbread crust. This one, in particular, is a favorite.

Orange Bars | Bake or Break

Then, I plied a custard filling with lots of orange juice and orange zest. All that orange-ness isn’t overwhelming. The citrus flavor is a bit more subtle with these than with traditional lemon bars, and I like that flavor delicacy.

To me, the beauty of these bars is the contrast of the tart orange filling with the sweet crust. If you’re looking for more orange flavor, I’d suggest adding a bit more zest to the filling.

Orange Bars

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 24 2-inch bars

Orange Bars

Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • For the filling:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 - 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1-2 large oranges)
  • zest of 1 large orange (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting top of bars

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease a 9”x 13” baking pan. Line with parchment paper. Lightly grease paper.

To make the crust, whisk together flour, confectioners’ sugar, and almonds. Cut in butter using a pastry blender or a fork or your hands. Mix until mixture resembles loose meal and holds together when pinched.

Spread crust mixture evenly in bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add sugar, orange zest, and orange juice, and mix well. Mix in flour and baking powder.

Pour filling mixture on top of partially baked crust. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until edges are browned and center is set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Sprinkle tops of bars with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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14 Comments

  1. Anna January 7, 2013 Reply

    They look delicious, thanks for sharing :)

  2. Medeja January 7, 2013 Reply

    These orange bars both sound good and look good! I think I have almost kilo of oranges at home :)

  3. vanillasugarblog January 7, 2013 Reply

    I think I am with you on this.
    Have I made orange bars?
    Maybe tangerine?
    Well these look good, really good.
    A large slice with hot tea.

  4. Ashleya January 8, 2013 Reply

    Mmm…now you have me thinking about all the possibilities for lemon bars.

  5. I think this sounds like a great idea. I’ve recently seen recipes for orange and mandarin curd, which I’m also ready to try. I have a ton of Cuties, those darling, easy to peel mandarins, that will get put to use in this form for sure! Why should lemons and limes get all the fun?

  6. Mary January 8, 2013 Reply

    These look and sound absolutely stunning!! beautiful and delicious way to start the year!
    Mary x

  7. Ruthy January 8, 2013 Reply

    Love these! One of my favorite things in the winter is the total excuse to eat as much citrus as possible. I hope this is the start of a beautiful union of you and even more citrus baked goods :)

  8. Jess @ OnSugarMountain January 8, 2013 Reply

    BRILLIANT! I love oranges, and it really is shocking that no one really thinks to switch them in for lemons in creamy bars. What a lovely idea – have to bookmark this for when I get back from Winter Break for sure :D

  9. Fork and Whisk January 8, 2013 Reply

    I have no idea why they never use oranges either, lemons and limes get all the love. They look good, definitely worth a try. Thanks.

  10. Deborah January 9, 2013 Reply

    Can you substitute almond flour for the ground almonds? How finely do you ground the almonds?

  11. jennifer January 9, 2013 Reply

    Deborah, I ground the almonds pretty finely, so almond flour would likely work.

  12. Lisa January 10, 2013 Reply

    I am going to try this over the weekend, I think I am almost over my holiday sugar coma. I’m going to cut the recipe in half..I’m wondering if a drizzle of dark chocolate to “dress these up for company” would work…things to ponder..Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Sara January 15, 2013 Reply

    I just made these and they were delicious. I used clementines and pecans. I’m excited to try other citrus and nut combos.

  14. Sara January 15, 2013 Reply

    Oh, and I wanted to say that most curd/shortbread bars I’ve tried were way too sweet and the shortbread too dense, but these were perfect. It’ll definitely be my new go to recipe.

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