As I write this blog post, I am currently (approximately) 30,000 feet somewhere over the U.S. on my way back to Seattle. Leaving home—my true, original home that is—is always bittersweet. I’m excited to get back to the city to see Mikey and all of my friends, but it’s difficult leaving my family, especially these days when I want so badly to be there for my sister. Lucky for me, I’ll get to see them all again in August for a wedding :)!
For now though, I’m feeling a bit melancholic. And what do I do when I’m down or stressed? Bake. You can bet that I will be in my kitchen this weekend throwing around some flour and sugar! Hopefully, whatever I come up with will be as sweet as these bars.
I actually made these bars a few months back as part of a contest entry, which, by the way, I won! They are an adaptation of these Lemon Bars. I didn’t post them right away because they are sweet; I mean really sweet. They walk the line between “sweet” and “too sweet.” But, you know what? Sometimes I want something really freakin’ sweet!
Mikey actually loved these, and didn’t find them to be near as sweet as I did. They only get better and better with age, too. 3-5 days out they are probably at their peak deliciousness!
My favorite part about these bars is the crust. It’s basically a pine-nut rosemary shortbread very similar to these cookies I’ve made in the past. It’s salty-sweet with a clean, herbaceous kick from the rosemary. The filling is almost orange creamsicle-esque. It’s very creamy and luscious. Unlike lemon bars, these don’t have that zippy tartness; however, you could easily add that in by adding a touch of citric acid to the filling mix.
I plan on making these again (this weekend perhaps?) switching the rosemary for tarragon, and the orange for grapefruit.
Pine-Nut Orange Bars
For the crust:
- 1 cup pine nuts
- leaves from 2-3 sprigs rosemary
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 oz. butter
For the filling:
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup orange juice
- zest from two oranges
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- small pinch citric acid (optional)
- confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, and rosemary; process until the mixture is almost a paste.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the pine nut mixture, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the flour and salt and beat until just combined. Spread into a 9x13x2 baking dish.
- Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes until very lightly browned. Let cool on a rack. Meanwhile, make the filling.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the eggs, orange zest, orange juice, sugar, flour, salt, and citric acid (if using).
- Pour over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until filling is set.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and slice!