Okay, let’s clear the air. These aren’t some normal Orange Bars that were hacked and overhauled so it’s dairy free and lighter than a normal orange dessert. These are incredible, tart, slightly sweet, orange bars.. which also happen to be a healthy dessert that taste just like a Dreamsicle… And at 1/2 the calories of a typical citrus bar, well, you can finish half the pan with a quarter of the guilt. Let’s make some Orange Vanilla Bars!
Orange Vanilla Bars
- 10 whole graham crackers (GF cookies work here great)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter (use vegan butter if you’re so inclined)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup fresh orange juice (used half Valencia, half blood oranges)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs plus 3 yolks
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus some for dusting)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9 square baking pan with parchment paper.
- To a food processor, add in graham crackers, then pulse as you slowly add in the butter, water, and granulated sugar. The crust should be a little wet and slightly crumbly. Pack crust into baking pan and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- While the crust bakes, make the orange vanilla portion. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice, vanilla, salt, and eggs until combined. Slowly work in the powdered sugar, then let sit until crust is ready.
- When the crust is done baking, remove from the oven and let cool slightly for 15 minutes. Drop oven temperature to 325˚F and pour filling into pan. Bake for 16 minutes, or until the center of the bars are just set and not wet. Be cautious not to overcook, as the bars will become eggy. Let the pan cool for four hours to set, then dust with powdered sugar, slice and serve.