Monday, March 25, 2013

Orange Creamsicle Bars

I fell in love all over again the other night. Maybe it was the fact that it is early Spring and the trees are blossoming. Maybe there was something in the air by the water. Maybe it was the blue-pink hue of the twilight sky. Whatever the reason, I fell in love with running all over again on my evening jaunt around town.

It was a run that felt both fast and effortless- a rare combination. 

I fell in love and then came home and ate a considerable serving of these bars.

These are your basic lemon bars with a few adaptations. I swapped out the lemon for a more subtle orange flavor and topped the bars with a marshmallowy meringue. Then I toasted it. And then, finally, I ate it.

Crumbly crust gets pressed into a foil lined pan and partially baked.

Zesty sugar is what permeates these bars with orange flavor. There is some orange juice in the filling, but most of the orange-ness is due to the orange infused sugar.

These bars are best enjoyed straight from the freezer. It is a creamsicle with crust.

Orange Creamsicle Bars
makes 1-8" pan

3/4 c + 2 Tablespoons AP flour, divided
1/3c confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1/2 c orange juice
the zest from 1 orange
2/3 c sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons milk

for meringue
2 egg whites
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c corn syrup
pinch salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- - -
pre-heat oven to 350
1. Line an 8x8 baking dish with foil and mist with cooking spray
2. Make the crust: in a food processor, pulse 3/4 c flour, corn starch, confectioners sugar, salt and butter until it begins to clump together; press dough onto the bottom of prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes
3. While crust is baking, prepared filling: using your fingers, massage sugar and zest together; add eggs, juice, sugar, lemon juice, milk ans flour; whisk until no lumps remain
4. After the crust has baked for 20 minutes, pour filling on top and return to the oven for 25-30 more minutes, center will appear set (a little jiggle is OK)
5. Cool completely
6. Make meringue: in a saucepan combine all meringue ingredients and cook until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch
7. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
8. Whip on high until meringue cools and forms glossy, stiff peaks
9. Pipe meringue onto cooled bars and toast under a broiler or using a kitchen torch until tops of meringue peaks appear golden
10. Cut and serve as desired

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