Some close friends just brought a bundle of joy home. We decided to surprise them with a “baby dinner.” Now that most of us are well into our 40’s, the stork does not visit very often, so these surprise dinners are far and few in between. By now, you may be crinkling your nose, and wondering what a “baby dinner” is. A baby dinner, is a homemade meal, that the happy family can enjoy. Very little time in the kitchen, to prepare; more time to enjoy baby. Now, it is nice to bring baby something, but, the real focus is on helping make the the new parent’s life easier. I usually toss in a batch of chocolate chip cookies or lemon bars, but with blood oranges in season I decided to include these scrumptious Blood Orange Bars.
I normally make up a big batch of pesto and give two big containers to the parents. Enough, to use throughout the week, and another container for the freezer. I also include some great pasta, salad fixings (complete with homemade vinaigrette), fresh bread, a bottle of wine as well as bubbly water, and a home-baked treat. Since, I knew mama bear, liked our spicy tomato sauce, I made a bit batch of this. Enough for dinner that night, and an extra for the freezer. Instead of the usual chocolaty brownies, or grapefruit bars that I normally add to the baby dinners; I decided to try something new. We have a big bowl of blood oranges on the counter. We have been using them, mostly for cocktails, throughout the winter. I thought they work out nicely in place of lemon, in a bar recipe. I made a basic sweet dough, for the base of the bar. Then I made a dreamy, and creamy blood orange filling. It reminded me of a creamsicle. I thought about tossing in a shot of rye; but, they also have teenagers, so I kept the recipe “family friendly”. Next time. I don’t dust my citrus bars with powdered sugar, as I find they are sweet enough. These blood orange bars are perfect; slightly crunchy and melt in your mouth creamy.
Do you have a favorite citrus bar, that you like to make?
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Blood Orange Bars
*makes one dozen
2 cups ap flour
16 oz butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste, I use paste
Line a 8″ x 8″ baking pan with parchment paper; butter, the other sides of the baking pan that are not covered with the paper.
In a food processor, add the flour, sugar, and salt; give a whirl.
Add the butter, and vanilla flavoring; process, until it comes together; about 5 minutes.
Pat the dough onto the bottom, and up the sides about 1/4″.
Put into the fridge for 30 minutes.
Then slide into the oven and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and let cool.
1 cup fresh squeezed blood orange juice, I use the pulp as well
zest from one blood orange
2 cups sugar
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Heat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl, with a paddle attachment, add the juice, zest, sugar, and flour; mix until creamy, about 3 minutes.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly, after each egg.
Add the butter, mix for 1 minute.
Pour into the baked crust.
Bake for 45 – 55 minutes; depending on oven temperature.
The middle will be slightly jiggly.
Some ovens are hotter than others. Let cool.
Slice into squares.