This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.
Blood Orange Bars are a less tangy version of lemon bars. They are vibrant, full of orange flavor, and rest on a buttery shortbread crust. This simple recipe will bring light to your cold winter days.
But this time of year, when blood oranges are in season, I become obsessed. I’m a huge fan of blood oranges, with their dark colored flesh and sweet citrus flavor. I get so excited when I see my grocery store stocked with them. They are definitely my favorite citrus.
Once again a gorgeous fruit (if you have ever cut into a blood orange you know what I am talking about) got the best of me and I had to buy the biggest bag available. At the time of purchase, I had no idea what I was going to do with this stunning orange, but it didn’t take me long to figure it out.
I decided to modify my all time favorite lemon bar recipe and turned it into a pleasantly sweet blood orange bar.
The smooth creamy filling is nothing more than a flavorful blood orange curd. And the delightful curd sits on top of a crisp, buttery shortbread crust.
To ensure the orange flavor was prominent, I used a whole cup of juice and some zest. The zest really brightened up the flavor.
And because the oranges are already sweet I didn’t use much sugar at all. You could probably cut it back even more if you are watching your sugar intake and you wouldn’t miss it at all.
Go grab a bag of blood oranges while they are in the stores! You don’t want to miss this winter treat!
Table of Contents
- TASTE: Sweet and citrusy
- TEXTURE: Smooth and creamy filling with a crumbly shortbread crust
- EASE: Easier than you think!
- TIME: Over three hours, including chilling time
What You’ll Need
The ingredients for these bars are likely in your pantry already, other than the blood oranges, which are a seasonal fruit available at most grocery stores. Buy about 6 blood oranges to squeeze enough juice for the filling.
- Flour: This crust uses all-purpose flour.
- Sugar: You need confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar. Confectioners’ sugar goes in the crust and granulated sugar goes in the filling.
- Salt: A dash of salt is in both the crust and filling to help balance the flavors.
- Blood orange zest: A little blood orange zest is in the filling for an extra punch of tanginess.
- Blood orange juice: Blood oranges are my favorite citrus – sweet and slightly less tangy than other citrus, the flavor makes for a perfectly sweet and slightly punchy bar.
- Butter: Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in the recipe. Butter is used in both the crust and the filling.
- Eggs: The filling needs 4 whole eggs plus 3 egg yolks. The extra yolks give the bars their vibrant color and richness.
- Heavy cream: There is just a splash of heavy cream in the filling.
- Mixing bowls: These bowls (affiliate link) are my favorite. I use them regularly.
- Pastry blender: I always use this pastry blender (affiliate link) to cut butter into the flour.
- Baking pan: I love these baking pans (affiliate link). They’re the only ones I use.
- Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil
How to Make Blood Orange Bars
This blood orange bars recipe is not complicated, but does require a bit of planning as chilling time is needed. To start, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or tin foil with enough overhang on all sides for easy removal.
Make the crust
- Prepare the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Bake. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool completely.
Make the filling
- Combine ingredients. While waiting for the crust to cool to room temperature, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, and salt together in a medium pot. Stir in the fresh blood orange juice and zest.
- Cook. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. The curd will thicken to the consistency of pudding. Stir the butter and cream into the smooth curd filling.
- Strain. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Pour the curd over the crust and spread evenly with a silicone spatula.
- Bake. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the filling is set.
- Cool and cut. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang. Cut into 16 squares.
A light dusting of powdered sugar over the bars after they have cooked will add to the presentation.
Tips For Success
- Do not skip the step of straining the curd. It may not seem like a big deal, but straining it will remove the pulp or any solids, making the curd smooth and creamy.
- If you want to give these bars a slightly more vibrant color, you can add a drop or two of red food coloring to the curd. They don’t need it, but the deep red color can be appealing.
Storage & Freezing
Bars will keep for up to 3 days stored covered in the refrigerator. They should not be left out at room temperature.