I’m squeezing every last delicious drop out of blood orange season with these Blood Orange Crumble Bars ~ the sweet tart filling is layered into a buttery shortbread crumble dough and what comes out of the oven is nothing short of awesome.
Blood Orange Crumble Bars celebrate winter citrus season
I love my crumble bar collection ~ it’s constantly expanding. The basic recipe is tried and true, and I guarantee it won’t let you down. I may have made a lot of them, but every single recipe that I’ve developed around this shortbread crumble dough has been unique and wonderful in its own way. Sometimes I vary the dough itself by changing up the type of flour, like my whole wheat marmalade bars, or by adding oats (white peach bars) adding spices (pear crumble bars) and sometimes nuts. Other times, I’ll change out the filling. This one gets its special personality from my fabulous Blood Orange Jam*. If you make up a batch of the jam now, you can freeze it and enjoy these bars any time you like.
*No worries if you don’t want to make homemade jam, just use your favorite commercial version. Any type of citrus jam or marmalade works great in this recipe.
The flavor of blood oranges is almost indescribable…
- It’s like a delicate combination of tangerine and raspberry, with a hint of floral.
- Blood oranges look just like regular oranges until you cut into them. The flesh is a gorgeous crimson red.
- Blood oranges are only available during the winter season, so look for them in your produce section from December to April.
- Blood oranges make wonderful juice, and cocktails!
That wonderful flavor is intensified when the fruit is cooked down into a jam, and it makes these bars really zingy. If you can’t make or find blood orange jam, you can often find blood orange marmalade, which would be a good substitute. If you’ve got tangerines or clementines you can make a wonderful jam with those, too, see my recipe for Clementine Jam.
What you’ll need for blood orange bars:
- butter ~ I always bake with unsalted butter, but if all you have is salted, just leave out the extra salt in the recipe.
- sugar ~ granulated.
- flour ~ all purpose, although you can experiment with whole grains, adding in some oat flour, or using a good gluten free baking mix.
- vanilla extract ~ the best you can find, quality matters here.
- jam for filling ~ this recipe calls for homemade jam but store bought will do fine.
The combination of vanilla and citrus in these Blood Orange Crumble Bars is really delicious ~ I hope you give them a try!
How to use the same dough for the bottom crust AND top crumble
- Once mixed, the basic shortbread dough will be moist and crumbly.
- Visually divide the dough into a 2/3 side and a 1/3 side. Don’t stress, this doesn’t have to be exact.
- Take the 2/3 part and crumble it with your finger evenly across the bottom of your pan.
- With floured fingers gently press the dough out until it covers the whole bottom. If you don’t have quite enough, steal a little more from the remaining dough in the bowl.
- After the filling goes down, it’s time for the crumble top. Take the remaining dough and create lumpy crumbles with your fingers as you drop it down over the filling. It’s ok if the topping doesn’t cover everything, that’s the point. You’re going to want some of the filling to peep through as it bakes.
We adore blood oranges…
- Blood Orange and Jicama Salad
- Fish with Blood Oranges and Thyme
- Blood Orange Vinegar
- Blood Orange Margarita
- Roasted Chicken with Citrus and Allspice
Blood Orange Crumble Bars
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup Blood Orange Jam recipe HERE
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean, or 1 tsp vanilla extract.
- milk or cream to thin
- Set oven to 350F. Lightly spray and line a 9x9 square baking pan with parchment paper with long ends so that you can lift the cooled bars out for easier cutting. This is optional.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until well combined and fluffy.
- Blend in the salt and vanilla. Add the flour gradually and mix until just combined. There should be no more dry flour left, but the mixture will be crumbly.
- Take approximately 2/3 of the dough and pat it into the bottom of the pan. I like to drop crumbles of the dough all over the bottom to distribute it before I start patting it down, this helps get the bottom covered evenly.
- Spread the jam evenly over the dough. Using your fingertips, crumble the remaining dough over the jam.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the bars are just starting to turn golden.
- If you are glazing the bars, let them cool completely before glazing.
- To make the glaze, whisk the sugar and vanilla with enough milk or cream to get a glaze consistency. Drizzle liberally over the cooled bars.
notes and variations
- Normally I love my bars with a glaze of some sort, but with these I found I preferred them without.
- Store these bars at room temperature covered loosely in foil. Plastic wrap will make them damp.