Lemon orange bars

Love lemon bars? You'll love them more with a splash of orange juice. Amp up the orange flavor by adding the zest of one orange. 

Eat.Run.Read.
Sometimes a baking experiment becomes a new taste sensation.

Full disclosure friends: I frequently forget things. Like the time of my flight to Washington, D.C. last weekend. Like the chapter I was supposed to read for class this morning. Like the person I already told that story to. Like the necessity for lemons when I plan on making lemon bars....

I recently found myself in such a dilemma with three options: (1) Go to the store and get more lemons, (2) make something else, (3) use what I have on hand. Fortunately, my forgetfulness is somewhat offset by my baking creativity. I may not have had enough lemons, but I did have orange juice! Same thing, right? Turns out that in the case of these bars, it is. They are made with the zest and juice of just one lemon, plus orange juice. And if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know it. I used the same shortbread crust recipe from my apple cheesecake bars because it is the best.

If you wanted to highlight the orange flavor, you could use a fresh orange and grate the zest into the mix as well. This of course necessitates having a fresh orange on hand – the likelihood of that happening is between you and your own kitchen. 

Lemon orange bars

Crust

3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/8 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter — (3/4 sticks) at very cool room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces, plus extra for greasing pan

Filling

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

Zest from 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon + orange juice = 1/2 cup of liquid (i.e. pour lemon juice into a 1/2 cup measure, then fill it the rest of the way with orange juice)

1/2 cup flour

Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1. Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter a 9- by 9-inch baking dish.

2. If you have a food processor: Pulse flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add butter and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then pulse until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second bursts.

3. If you're doing it by hand: Mix flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl. Freeze butter and grate it on large holes of box grater into flour mixture. Toss butter pieces to coat. Rub pieces between your fingers for a minute, until flour turns pale yellow and coarse.

4. Sprinkle mixture into pan and press firmly with fingers into even, 1/4-inch layer over entire pan bottom and about 1/4-inch up sides.

5. Bake for 20 minutes.

6. Filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon and orange juice, and flour. Pour over the hot crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set.

7. Let cool to room temperature and slice into squares.

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