I had a work potluck coming up and didn’t know what to bring. This potluck’s theme was soup and salad, and of course I asked to see if I would be able to bring a dessert instead. Wish granted!
I looked around for a lighter dessert that wouldn’t feel too heavy with the soup and salads that everyone was contributing and also wanted something that would travel and store well. I didn’t want to bring cookies, and frozen or chilled desserts would be difficult to transport and keep cooled.
Finally, I settled on these orange citrus bars from Paula Deen. Yes, she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, but the woman can cook! When taking a look at the list of ingredients, I noticed that this wasn’t exactly a lighter recipe like I had hoped, but I thought that the idea of a citrus bar would be a nice addition to our potluck. Plus, the bars transport well and didn’t need a refrigerator to keep them chilled.
One change I made to the recipe was the amount of glaze. Paula’s original recipe is below, but I cut it down to about 1/4 of the original measurements. I didn’t want the bars to be too sweet, so I only used one cup of powdered sugar and added orange juice and zest to my liking.
Everyone commented that the bars were a nice refreshing way to end the meal. In fact, several people (ahem) took more than one bar, and a few people mistakenly referred to them as lemon bars. If you need a nice burst of citrus flavor to brighten up a meal, look no further!
Orange citrus bars from Paula Deen
- 1 orange zested
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup cold butter 2 sticks, cubed
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour divided
Orange Citrus Glaze
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar I only used 1 cup
- 1/2 cup orange juice I used about 3-4 TBSP of orange juice
- 1/2 cup orange zested (Readers on her page didn't know what she meant by this; I simply just reserved some zest from my orange and added it into the glaze. Feel free to adjust this to your tastes)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Make the crust
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, and confectioners’ sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking pan. Bake 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
Make the filling
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and juice until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup flour and baking powder, stirring to combine. Sprinkle in some orange zest. Pour into hot baked crust, and bake 25 minutes, or until set. Cool the bars so you may top with orange citrus glaze.
Make the orange-citrus glaze
- Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup orange juice together, so that it combines to make a nice creamy glaze sauce consistency. Add orange zest. When all ingredients are mixed well, pour onto the cooled citrus bars.