Blood Orange Bars are a twist on classic lemon bars with a melt-in-your-mouth buttery crust and a soft jelly-like orange filling. Make them before blood orange season is gone!
I have a love-hate relationship with citrus. I don’t like snacking on navel oranges (zest and juice in recipes are fine) but enjoy clementines. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors. Limes are eh, and I’m not a fan of lemon lime pop. I do love eating grapefruit for breakfast when they’re in season. But once I see blood oranges? I go crazy. Slightly more bitter yet less acidic than a regular orange but also sweet with a hint of raspberry. Their season ranges from December to May, depending on the type of blood orange you want. The particular kind I like is only available until March, so once blood oranges are in stores, I stock up.
In addition to snacking on them, I love baking with them. These Blood Orange Bars are a twist on classic lemon bars. They have a melt-in-your-mouth buttery crust with a soft jelly-like orange filling. The top naturally cracks when cut, giving them a slightly rustic look. For presentation they are dusted with powdered sugar. The bright red color does bake off, but I promise it’s packed full of flavor.
The first time I had a blood orange was down in the Bahamas during college. I was on a trip with the geology department (the only reason I took my oceanography class), so we were on a pretty remote island with probably only 1000 residents. They were researching while I was, um, helping. During one of our hikes, we found some blood orange trees so we stopped for a snack. I didn’t think much about them until I saw them during my first trip to Whole Foods a few months later.
There are several types of blood oranges. The deep red color we all associate with blood oranges is called moro, which is available from December to March. They usually have a red-orange peel, but it’s not always the case. Because they are usually imported, you want to look for the moro sticker to ensure you have a ruby red color inside. Other varieties have a similar taste but may lack in color.
Warning – blood oranges are messy. Once you cut and juice them, you may be questioned about the murder scene in your kitchen. The juice can stain, so wear an apron and don’t expect clean hands. Wipe up any juice while it’s still wet.
Yields 9-12 bars
30 minPrep Time
50 minCook Time
1 hr, 20 Total Time
- 1/2 cup (4 ounce or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons blood orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or lightly greased foil.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon orange zest until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Gradually beat in 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt until a dough forms.
- Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges.
- Meanwhile, in a another large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, remaining 1 cup sugar, and remaining 1 teaspoon zest until smooth. Gradually beat in the juice and remaining 2 tablespoons flour.
- Pour filling over the hot baked crust. Bake 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker
Photos and recipe updated 2/15/17