Easy Creamy Orange Bars are a delicious winter dessert made with an oat crust and crumble and an easy two-ingredient filling!
I’m not one to go on a crazy diet on January 1. I’ve kind of been there, done that. Not for me. Instead of thinking about what I CAN’T have, I think about what things I CAN nourish my body with.
I know it’s ironic that this is how I’m starting a post for a dessert. My point is – I focus on eating nutrient-dense foods (vegetables) and if I’m craving something sweet, I reach for something on the healthier side like a homemade Lara bar or a date with some almond butter smeared on it.
That said, I think there’s room for every kind of dessert in a healthy diet. Unlike December where I was eating an average of 4.98 cookies a day, I’m eating an “all out” dessert once or twice a week in January. So when I’m gonna have dessert, it’s gonna be GOOD.
While Marc and I are both huge fans of chocolate desserts, I also like to bake with ingredients depending on the season and my cravings. In the winter, especially after Christmas, I’m all about the citrus desserts. Lemon bars, grapefruit pound cake, orange creamsicle muffins, you name it. I love them all!
While I love a good lemon bar, I decided to switch things up a bit by using orange juice and orange zest.
How To Make Creamy Orange Bars
These bars are pretty simple to make and they’re so, so good. If you like citrus desserts, you are going to love these. The crust layer and crumb topping are actually the same dough. You just press half of it into the bottom and sprinkle the other half on top. This completely solves my issue with crumb toppings, which is that usually by the time I get to making the crumb topping, I just don’t want to. In this recipe, it’s already been made!
Then there’s the filling which has just three ingredients: sweetened condensed milk, orange zest, and orange juice. Could we actually say just two ingredients since the zest and juice both come from the same orange? Probably.
Pop them in the oven for a half hour, let them cool, and you’re on your way to creamy orange bar heaven!
I think the reason I love citrus desserts so much in the winter is because for one, they’re in season. So, duh. Also, they are so bright and cheery! So on those days when I think I just can’t take one more dreary winter day, I whip up something citrusy and it kind of makes me cheery again. Or maybe it’s just the sugar that makes me happy. There’s no telling.
Regardless, these Creamy Orange Bars are a ray of sunshine on any kind of day and a perfect excuse for a sweet treat!
- ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 ? cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- Zest from 1 orange
- ½ cup fresh orange juice from about 2 navel oranges
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line 8x8” baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- In a bowl with electric mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar until well combined, about 1 minute.
- Add in flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and mix until crumb mixture forms.
- Press half of the mixture on the bottom of the prepared pan.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, orange zest, and orange juice.
- Pour orange mixture on top of crust.
- Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-32 minutes, until golden on the edges and set in the middle. It will still seem kind of jiggly but it will set up as it cools.
- Cool completely.
- Remove bars from the pan with the foil and peel foil from edges. Cut into bars.