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Catastrophe Kitchen | Orange Dreamsicle Bars

By Salongo Wendland

I recently made Deb Perelman’s Whole Lemon Bars from her latest cookbook. They were fantastically tart, didn’t require zesting, and could be made entirely in the bowl of a food processor. Since I can never leave well enough alone, I started wondering what else could be made this way… and after a few trials and errors, came up with these puppies, using oranges. They are fantastic—citrusy sweet, biscuity and creamy, a dream(sicle) come true. Make some for your next springtime brunch!

You will need:

Crust:

  • 1 C flour
  • ½ C powdered sugar
  • ½ C salted butter (one stick) (or unsalted butter + ¼ t salt)

Bars:

  • 1 large or 2 small navel oranges (about 9oz.)
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 4 oz. salted butter (one stick) (or unsalted butter + ¼ t salt)
  • 1 ½ T corn starch
  • 3 jumbo or 4 regular eggs
  • Optional: a few drops of orange food coloring

Glaze:

  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 3 T melted butter
  • 1 t vanilla or vanilla bean paste
  • 1-2 T milk to thin

Set the oven to 350F. If you have a convection oven, switch it over to standard. For some reason, when I used the convection setting in my oven the bars didn’t turn out at all.  Line an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with aluminum foil. It helps to flip the pan over, mold the aluminum to the underside, then pop it back into the inside. Spray the lined pan.

Dump the crust ingredients into your food processor bowl and let it whirl for about 15 seconds, then pulse until the mixture looks kind of powdery.

 

Dump the crumbs into the prepared pan and pat them in, going a little ways up the sides. Put your pan in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. It may take up to 20 minutes, but better safe than sorry—you want to take it out when it’s starting to brown on the edges.

Chop the orange into rough slices and discard any seeds. Add the orange and sugar to your food processor bowl (don’t worry about cleaning it out, honestly, it is not worth it) and process for 30 seconds to a minute, until the fruit and sugar are pretty uniform.

Add the butter, eggs, and cornstarch and the food coloring if you’re using it (I didn’t) and let it whirl for 30-45 seconds, or until it’s pretty uniform. It may still look slightly uneven, but that’s fine as long as there are no LARGE CHUNKS in it.

When your crust is done, pull it out of the oven and pour the filling on top. Yes, right on top of the hot crust. Then put it back in the oven for 30-35 minutes. It will be done when it doesn’t jiggle when you wiggle the pan (except maybe a SLIGHT movement in the center)—the edges will look decidedly set. Mine have green spots in them because I added a lime in one of the TRULY AWFUL variations I tried, then forgot to get good photos of the plain orange one.

Let the bars cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then carefully take the aluminum sling of bars out and lay it on a cutting board.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients and pour the glaze over the top of the bars. Before the glaze sets, carefully pull the aluminum back from the bars, leaving them on the cutting board, then refrigerate 1-2 hours, or until they’re totally cold.

Cut them into squares and taste your creation! Then invite someone over so you don’t eat them all yourself. Or do eat them all yourself. I mean, they’re….fruit.

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