Today is the last day of winter, tomorrow the official start of spring. It’s a gorgeous day, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the air is crisp & cool, the perfect send-off for winter.
To usher in the spring season, i’m gonna bake a batch of fresh & citrus-y orange bars:
- 3 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp orange zest
- pinch salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp flour
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp orange zest
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tbsp orange juice
- Make Crust: Line loaf pan with foil, leaving overhang on two opposite sides.
- Lightly coat sides of foil, but not the bottom, with non-stick cooking spray.
- In medium bowl, use spatula to stir and press sugar, salt, zest, and vanilla together until moist and fragrant. Stir in flour and butter until crumbly, stiff dough forms.
- Press dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Prick dough with fork all over. Freeze dough 5 minutes until firm.
- Bake Crust: Preheat oven to 325° F. Bake crust until golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
- Make Topping: While crust bakes, stir sugar, flour, salt and zest together. Whisk in egg until smooth then whisk in juice.
- Bake Bars: Once crust has baked, pour topping over hot crust. Return pan to oven and increase temperature to 350º F. Bake until topping is set in the center and no longer wiggles when pan is moved, 20-25 minutes.
- Set pan on cooling rack and cool until bar is firm, about 1 hour. (You can speed this up by placing bar in refrigerator once pan is no longer hot).
- Once cooled, use overhang foil to carefully lift bar from pan and place on cutting board. Peel away foil then cut into 3 big bars or 6 small bars. Sift powdered sugar over bars if desired.
These bars are so flavorful with their bright orange flavor, like a burst of sunshine in your mouth. The shortbread crust is buttery & crispy, perfect on its own but also complements the creamy orange topping wonderfully.
What a refreshing way to welcome the new season! 🙂