I have made the executive decision that lemon-flavored things are out and blood orange is in. These Vegan Blood Orange Bars are primarily to blame. Will I stand by this decision forever? No. But as this summer draws to an end it is important for me to cram as much of this beautiful fruit into my body as possible. Thus, I will be replacing all of the lemons in my life with blood oranges until further notice and I hope you will do the same. Hint: See recipe below to begin.
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What are Blood Oranges?
It’s kind of strange how our awareness of food develops over time. Blood oranges are a great example. For all I know they could have been around since the dawn of time and I only just recently became privy to their existence. After making these Vegan Blood Orange Bars, I cannot remain citrus-ignorant any longer.
Contrary to popular belief, blood oranges are not genetically engineered. They are simply a mutation of normal, citrus oranges. A very happy accident if you ask me. They possess a slightly richer and less sweet flavor profile than their standard counterpart and an absolutely gorgeous deep magenta color. There is no food coloring necessary in this recipe as blood orange juice is incredibly pigmented all on its own!
Ingredients for Vegan Blood Orange Bars
For the Shortbread Crust
The shortbread crust is an essential component of the vegan blood orange bars as it provides a buttery, crumbly base for the dessert. Furthermore, it adds a delicate texture and rich flavor to contrast with the tangy and sweet blood orange filling.
- All-purpose flour: It is the main ingredient for the crust and provides structure and stability when combined with other ingredients. It gives the crust a light and tender texture.
- Sugar: Adds sweetness to the crust and helps with browning during baking.
- Vegan Butter: Replaces traditional butter in the recipe, providing the necessary fat for the shortbread. It contributes to the rich flavor and adds a buttery consistency to the crust.
- Salt: Enhances the overall flavor of the crust by balancing the sweetness and adding depth.
- Blood Orange Zest: Adds a vibrant and aromatic citrus flavor to the crust, complementing the blood orange filling. The zest contains essential oils that intensify the orange taste and aroma.
For the Blood Orange Filling
The filling is the main attraction of the blood orange bars, providing a luscious and tangy orange flavor. It also contributes to the bars’ creamy and smooth texture.
- Nondairy Milk: It serves as the liquid base for the filling, providing moisture and creating a creamy texture. Choose a non-dairy milk such as almond, soy, or oat milk to keep the recipe vegan.
- Cornstarch: Acts as a thickening agent for the filling, helping it set properly and achieve a firm yet silky consistency.
- All-purpose flour: Along with cornstarch, it helps thicken the filling and contributes to its stability when baked.
- Sugar: Adds sweetness to the filling and balances the tartness of the blood orange juice. It also helps the filling to set properly during baking.
- Blood Orange Juice: The star ingredient of the bars, it provides the vibrant citrus flavor and natural tanginess. Freshly squeezed blood orange juice is used for the best flavor.
- Blood Orange Zest: Adds a burst of aromatic flavor to the filling and enhances the overall citrus profile of the bars. The zest contains essential oils that intensify the orange taste and aroma, similar to the zest used in the shortbread crust.
Together, the shortbread crust and the blood orange filling create a harmonious combination of textures and flavors, resulting in delicious vegan blood orange bars. The crust provides a sturdy and buttery base, while the filling offers a creamy and tangy orange layer that is both refreshing and indulgent.
Tips for Making Vegan Blood Orange Bars
By following these tips, you’ll be able to create delicious and satisfying vegan blood orange bars that are sure to impress!
- Fresh blood oranges: For the best flavor, use freshly squeezed blood orange juice and zest. The natural tanginess and vibrant citrus flavor of fresh blood oranges will make a noticeable difference in the taste of the bars.
- Adjust sweetness: Taste the filling mixture before pouring it over the crust. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, you can add a bit more sugar to the filling mixture. Keep in mind that blood oranges are naturally tart, so finding the right balance of sweetness is key.
- Properly chill and set: Once baked, allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature before transferring them to the refrigerator. This will help the filling to set properly and achieve the desired texture. Chill for a few hours or overnight to ensure the bars are firm and easy to slice.
- Serve chilled: Vegan blood orange bars are best served chilled. The cold temperature enhances the flavors and gives the bars a refreshing and indulgent taste. Consider garnishing each slice with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a blood orange slice for an appealing presentation.
How to Serve/Store Vegan Blood Orange Bars
To serve vegan blood orange bars, you can follow these suggestions:
- Slicing: Use a sharp knife to slice the bars into individual servings. Aim for even-sized squares or rectangles for a neat presentation. Take care when cutting through the crust to maintain its integrity.
- Garnish: Enhance the visual appeal of the bars by adding some garnishes. Dust the tops with a sprinkle of powdered sugar to give them an elegant touch. You can also add a small blood orange slice or zest as a garnish on each bar.
- Plating: Arrange the sliced bars on a serving platter or individual dessert plates. If you want to be extra fancy, you can place each bar on a decorative dessert plate or a doily for an elegant touch.
- Accompaniments: Vegan blood orange bars can be enjoyed on their own, but you can also serve them with some accompaniments to elevate the experience. Also consider adding a dollop of vegan whipped cream or a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream on the side. This adds a creamy element and contrasts nicely with the tangy blood orange flavor.
- Chill: It’s important to serve the blood orange bars chilled, as this enhances their flavor and texture. Keep them refrigerated until you are ready to serve, and return any leftovers to the refrigerator promptly.
Allow the bars to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature before storing. This specifically prevents condensation from forming inside the storage container, which can make the crust soggy. Place the bars in an airtight container to protect them from moisture and air exposure. A lidded container or a container tightly wrapped with plastic wrap works well. Make sure the container is appropriately sized to accommodate the bars without crushing or damaging them.
Vegan blood orange bars should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain their freshness and prevent spoilage. The cool temperature also helps preserve the texture and flavor of the bars. Vegan blood orange bars can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. However, for the best taste and texture, it’s recommended to consume them within 2-3 days.
Please remember if you make this recipe to snap a pic and share with @censoredbaker on instagram!Print
Vegan Blood Orange Bars
If you love lemon bars you will adore this modern twist! These blood orange bars are full of bright citrus flavor and pack a tart punch.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 33 minutes
- Total Time: 8 hours
- Yield: 9 2-inch bars 1x
- Category: Brownies and Bars
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/3 c sugar
1/2 c vegan butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp blood orange zest
3/4 c non-dairy milk
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c all purpose flour
1 c sugar
2/3 c blood orange juice (about 6 oranges)
2 tbsp blood orange zest
- Crust: Preheat over to 350 degrees F (175 C) and line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Cut in vegan butter using a pastry cutter until texture is crumbly. Stir in blood orange zest. Press crust evenly into prepared pan using your fingers.
- Prepare the Slurry: While crust is baking, begin preparing the filling. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, cornstarch and all purpose flour until completely smooth with no lumps. Set aside.
- Filling: In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining non-dairy milk, sugar, and blood orange juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and slowly whisk in cornstarch/flour mixture. Continue to cook, whisking continuously for about 5 minutes until mixture is very thick, like pudding. Remove from heat and stir in blood orange zest.
- Bake/Serve: Pour filling over the curst and bake for 15 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight. Once chilled and set, lift the parchment paper carefully to remove bars from pan. Cut into 2-inch squares and dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Bars will keep in an airtight container stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
*Blood orange bars will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Keywords: blood orange bars, vegan blood orange, blood orange, blood orange dessert