Orange bars: like a creamsicle only WAY better

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Hello!! I have citrusy goodness for you today, because this time of year is all about the citrus and scurvy is bad news.

Besides that, I used to LOVE 50/50 bars when I was a kid (you know, those popsicle-looking things that were orange on the outside and vanilla on the inside? also known as a creamsicle?) and I wanted something that tasted sort of like that, only WAY better and not filled with all the junk. So I made these!

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Orange bars with a vanilla almond crust… pair them with vanilla ice cream and they are pretty much the perfect citrus dessert.

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Let’s see, what else is new… more drawing, of course — still on the SF series, naturally.

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I think that’s about it, otherwise I’m business as usual over here — didn’t really bake diddly for Thanksgiving so I’ll have to make up for it at Christmas, which is (gasp) rapidly approaching.

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Citrus was requested and I was thinking of doing something along those lines anyway, but I really wanted to do something besides lemon. I LOVE lemon, but… it’s always the favored child when it comes to citrus desserts. Let’s let oranges have their time in the limelight, ya know? …. Limelight? Really?? That just happened. Let’s see how many citrus references can fit in one sentence…

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Anywayyyy. Make these! Eat them! Your neglected oranges will love you, and you’ll get a nice blast of creamsicle nostalgia.

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Orange Bars with Vanilla Almond Crust

(Otherwise known as Creamsicle bars but that’s probably trademarked…)

Gluten & grain free, refined sugar free, easy dairy free option, probs paleo depending on your definition… all around delicious. I was going for the creamsicle flavor profile here and I haven’t eaten a 50/50 bar in years, but I’m pretty sure this really close (and, frankly, better tasting… let’s be real). These bars are light and citrusy, easy, delicious, and free of all the junk!

Sorry for some of the strange measurements — I prefer this in an 8 by 8 pan and I like my layers a little thicker, which is why the measurements are a little weird. Don’t forget to zest your oranges and then juice them! Nothing like attempting to zest pre-juiced oranges, it might be one of the more annoying kitchen things I’ve inadvertently done.

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For the crust:

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c unsalted almond butter
  • 1.5 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tbsp salted butter, softened (or coconut oil for non dairy)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 4.5 eggs*
  • scant 3/4 c pure maple syrup
  • zest of 3 oranges, roughly chopped
  • 1/4c + 1/8c fresh orange juice
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4.75 tbsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

* to achieve half an egg: crack an egg into a small bowl and whisk it; then either measure or eyeball half and use that. or just use a whole one as long as it’s small, I doubt it would affect the consistency of the bars all that much…

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in almond butter, maple syrup, softened butter, and vanilla, and stir until combined and crumbly. Press the crust dough evenly into the prepared pan, and poke with a fork a few times. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside when done.

While the crust is baking, make the filling! In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, maple, orange zest and juice, seal salt, coconut flour (sifted if lumpy) and vanilla until smooth. Pour into the parbaked crust, and bake for 30-35 minutes. The top should be mostly firm and the filling set, with just a small amount of wiggle (it’ll firm up as it cools). Let cool completely and eat immediately or chill in the fridge for later (I like them cold!) — serve with vanilla ice cream for maximum creamsicle flavor :) Store any leftovers in the fridge.

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An obsession with perpendicular vaulting and also rice pudding

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I kind of love Harry Potter.

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As in, not the kid. Obviously. But the books! And the movies, on a certain level. They’re just so my generation. And besides, when I turned eleven and didn’t get a Hogwarts letter, I convinced myself that the yank version of Hogwarts started later, and that I still had a chance to be magical. Doesn’t every little kid at some point want to do magic? Wand waving type magic though, not the sawing people in half variety…

My patronus would undoubtedly be a tiger… which is really just a big kitty!!

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I also wish I had classes in a castle. I mean, HELLO have you SEEN the perpendicular vaulting in there?! It’s freaking gorgeous (Side note: during the epic battle of Hogwarts takes place in the last book, I kind of had a mini panic attack until I reminded myself that it was a set, and not some piece of glorious architecture). And um, turrets?! Lancet windows? The great hall ceiling?? And staircases that move? (wait, maybe no on that last one for expediency’s sake…) Anywayyy. Nerd alert! Ever since I wrote my thesis I’ve been startlingly aware of gothic architecture. At one point I toyed with the idea of proposing a thesis discussing the Hogwarts architecture in relation to the neo-gothic, but I kind of didn’t think that would go over real well… Whatever. It would have been an entertaining presentation!

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Anyway. Enough babble: time for dessert (which is obviously why you’re all here anyway, riiiight? Or can it be that you really like reading my random tangents? Wait. Don’t answer that). I have an Italian dessert for you today, which is kind of a cross between baked rice pudding and a soufflé. It’s delicious. I don’t care if you don’t like rice pudding, you should make this anyway. Big thanks to Elaine and Ramona who dropped off a massive bag of blood oranges for me! I’m still figuring out what to do with the rest, but never fear, they’ll go in many delicious things I’m sure.

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Torte di Riso

Ever so slightly adapted from Nutmegs, seven, here! I was able to get 9 servings out of my 10″ springform pan. This torte is delicious, worth every minute of stirring over the stove. It is dense yet light, chewy yet fluffy. The blood oranges lend it just a little bit of citrusy overtones, and the vanilla bean makes your kitchen smell like heaven. I know those little beans are expensive, but seriously: this is worth it!

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  • 4 c milk (I used 3.25 unsweetened almond milk, 0.75 c 1% dairy, as that’s what I had)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • zest of 1 blood orange
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 7/8 c arborio rice
  • 3.5 tbsp blood orange juice
  • 3 large eggs, separated

Add milk, vanilla bean, orange zest, and sugar into a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the rice and simmer for 30 minutes, until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid (Mine went for more like 40 minutes, so use your best judgement). The rice should be cooked and slightly al dente. Whisk it good a few times, then leave to cool (if you can prevent yourself from eating it straight out of the pan… not that I speak from experience or anything *ahem*). It should thicken a bit more as it cools.

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 10″ springform pan (I used coconut oil as usual).

In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks; then add in orange juice and whisk until thick and gorgeously orangey. Stir this into the cooled rice. Whip the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, then fold 1/3 of them into the rice. Once incorporated, fold in the rest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, evening out the top with a spatula. Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a tester comes out clean (mine went for exactly 60). If the cake browns too much during baking, loosely cover the top with foil. Let cool, then cut with a sharp knife! I stored mine in the fridge and it kept well for a few days (let’s be real, it only lasted about two).

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