Baked orange bars with a buttery crunchy shortbread style crust. If you love lemon bars then these are for you!
I’m a big fan of lemon bars and the more tart they are, the better I like them! But when you have a few giant Cara Cara oranges sitting in the fruit bowl for a while, you need to come up with something to do with them or the bugs will happily take them!
You could just slice them up and eat them as-is, but because I love my lemon bars I wondered what it’d be like to substitute the lemon for orange. Here’s what happened, and it was good!
Is there a huge difference between lemon bars and orange bars?
Sort of. The orange bars definitely have a milder taste and aren’t tart at all like traditional lemon bars. But they do still taste fresh with a good solid orange flavor. One of the secrets to any citrus bar or dessert is to incorporate as much zest as you can because that’s where most of the flavor is. Try and zest the fruit before you juice it too because it’s much easier to zest a whole lemon or orange rather than a half.
How to prebake the crust
It’s important to almost fully bake the crust so that the orange bar filling has a good base to bake on. Another important step is to make sure and build a lip around the edges with the dough when you first add it to the baking pan. I’ve had filling seep down below the pre-cooked base before and the whole thing turns out like upside down orange bars.
How will I know when my orange bars are ready?
The easiest way to test them is to grab the baking pan with a towel or oven mitt and give it a slight shake. If the center still seems runny then it might need another 5-7 minutes. When the orange bars are done, shake them again and the filling will jiggle slightly but still seem more firm than liquid form. The orange bars will also set more as they cool. We don’t want to overbake them though or they’ll feel gelatinous when they should still be a little bit squishy in the center.
Can I eat them straight away?
It’s hard not too with the fresh baked smell, but they have to cool. Once cool they’ll be easier to slice into squares and eat individually. You can store them covered at room temperature but ideally keep them in the fridge and they’ll last longer for you. Bring them back to room temperature before you eat them though to enjoy the orange flavor. They should last two 3-4 days using the fridge. Don’t forget to give them heavy dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Buttery Baked Orange Bars
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces salted butter at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 13 x 9 inch baking pan by spraying it with nonstick spray and lining it with parchment paper.
- In a bowl combine the flour, powdered sugar, and butter.
- Using your fingers rub the flour and sugar with the butter until the mixture feels like sand and there are no large lumps.
- Add the mixture to the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.
- Using a flat bottomed cup or measuring cup, press down on the dough to flatten and push out slightly to the edges to make a lip against the sides of the pan.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and orange zest until smooth.
- Add the orange juice and flour and whisk until there are no more lumps.
- Once the base is done, slowly pour the filling into the pan on top of the base and place back in the oven.
- Bake for another 30-35 minutes and the middle is no longer runny but still a little jiggly.
- Let the orange bars cool before lifting out from the pan using the parchment paper and cutting into individual squares.