7 months ago

Creamy Orange Bars

Creamy orange filling sandwiched between two layers of sweet, crumbly streusel. This must-try dessert from Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate is sure to brighten your day!

While my husband and I are both huge fans of chocolate desserts, I also like to bake with ingredients depending on the season and my cravings. In the spring, I love strawberry desserts; in the summer, I tend towards berry desserts; and in the fall, I bake with pumpkin. In the winter, I’m all about citrus desserts: lemon bars, grapefruit pound cake, orange creamsicle muffins, you name it. I love them all!  

While I love a good lemon bar, I decided to switch things up a bit by using orange juice and orange zest.  

These bars are pretty simple to make and they’re so, so good. If you like citrus desserts, you are going to love these. The crust layer and crumb topping are actually the same dough. You just press half of it into the bottom and sprinkle the other half on top. This completely solves my issue with crumb toppings, which is that usually by the time I get to making the crumb topping, I just don’t want to. In this recipe, it’s already been made!  

Then there’s the filling, which has just three ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, orange zest and orange juice. Could we say just two ingredients since the zest and juice both come from the same orange? Probably.

Pop them in the oven for a half hour, let them cool and you’re on your way to creamy orange bar heaven.

I think the reason I love citrus desserts so much in the winter is because for one, they’re in season. So, duh. Also, they are so bright and cheery. So on those days when I think I just can’t take one more dreary winter day, I whip up something citrusy and it kind of makes me cheery again. Or maybe it’s just the sugar that makes me happy. There’s no telling. Regardless, these Creamy Orange Bars are a ray of sunshine on any kind of day!

Creamy Orange Bars

Yields 1 (8-inch) baking pan
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
Zest from 1 orange
½ cup fresh orange juice (from about 2 navel oranges)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line 8×8 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until well combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Add in flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; mix until crumb mixture forms.
  5. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, orange zest and orange juice.  
  7. Pour orange mixture on top of crust. 
  8. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
  9. Bake for 30-32 minutes, until golden on the edges and set in the middle. It will still seem kind of jiggly but it will set up as it cools.
  10. Cool completely. Remove bars from the pan with the foil and peel foil from edges. Cut into bars. Enjoy!