Welcome to my blog, where one may find all sorts of random, hopefully amusing tidbits about food & other things.

January 22, 2014

orange clove bars.

I feel like it's the little things that make the biggest differences in life. A little argument could blow up into the biggest deal, or reveal deeper issues. Or in a more positive light, getting lunch during Restaurant Week at Buddakan in Philly with someone I haven't talked to in forever, but was easily able to hold a conversation with, could turn out to be a very relaxing day trip.

The little things characterize this bar, as well. I found a lemon bar recipe and remembered how delicious they are. "I'll bake them!" I thought. Then I looked in my fridge and saw chole, samosa filling (remnants of some amazing samosa chaat), cooked kaniwa, and some ricotta-spinach stuffed chicken, but no lemons.

Next best citrus? Oranges! I don't recall ever really having seen an "orange bar" recipe .. but I figured it would work just as well, so I ran with it.

I set about vigorously zesting an orange. Its light, fruity fragrance leeched into the air. The oils from the peel were staining my fingers a faint orange every time I paused to check I wasn't getting any bitter pith into the bowl.

Some way through, I recalled an excellent orange clove jam I had in Costa Rica a few years back. The addition of clove heightened a typical marmalade to something unique and even more delicious. I decided to add some clove to the crust and filling, in an effort to replicate the awesomeness of that flavor combo.

I know I paired orange with cardamom in my last cookie recipe .. what can I say, orange has such a versatile flavor profile. And it really brightens up winter! Spice (whether cardamom or clove) adds a hint of warmth, too.

Try this out - I hope you like it! And remember to enjoy the little things in life, as they will most likely be the most memorable.

Orange Clove Bars 
adapted from here. I baked mine in a 9x9 bar (all I have), and they came out too thin, but still delicious. also, I included cloves in just the crust here - it should be sufficient for a bit of warmth.

  • 1 stick butter 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • zest of 3/4 of an orange
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  1. Grease an 8x8" pan (you can also use 9x9", but the bars will be much more thin). Line with parchment paper and let some hang out over the sides so the bars can be removed later. Grease parchment paper lightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make crust: Cream butter and sugar till lighter in color, almost white, 3-5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add flour, salt, and cloves. Beat again on low speed until a dough is formed.
  3. Press dough with slightly wetted or greased hands into the prepared pan. Bake about 15 minutes, until lightly browned on edges.
  4. Make filling meanwhile: Whisk eggs and sugar well. Add zest, flour, and juice.
  5. Pour filling over still warm crust. Bake again for 18 - 20 minutes. It should not be jiggling in the center. 
  6. Cool completely in pan. Slice into bars. Dust with powdered sugar, and remove from pan using parchment paper. Store in airtight container, with wax or parchment paper between each layer.

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