Saturday, December 17, 2011

Orange Dream Bars

I started baking as a teenager and one of my first cookbooks; that I still have and use, is the Sunset "Cookies" step by step techniques cookbook which is amazingly still sold here and I would suggest every beginning baker have one.  It is filled with traditional cookies as well as some new ones.  This recipe is another that I only just tried this year and absolutely love.  And it has coconut in it along with a yummy orange frosting.
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Here's what you need:

Bars
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup plus 2 Tbl. flour, unbleached
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped

Frosting
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. grated orange peel
2 - 4 Tbl. orange juice from concentrate (I didn't use the fresh juice because there is always a varied flavor with fresh OJ and it is sometimes bitter, you may use fresh or from concentrate)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl, cream butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar until creamy.  Add in 1 cup of the flour and mix until it resembles crumbs.  Press into the bottom of a 9 x 13 (I used a 9 x 12 throw away tin pan) and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In the (cleaned) bowl of a stand mixer or medium mixing bowl, place eggs and beat until light and lemon-colored; then gradually beat in the remaining 1 cup sugar.  Beat in the vanilla; remaining 2 Tbl. flour, salt, and baking powder.  Stir in the coconut and nuts until thoroughly combined.  Pour coconut mixture over the top of the crust, spreading evenly.  Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until topping is golden.  Cool completely. 
To make the frosting, beat butter and powdered sugar until creamy.  Add vanilla and orange peel, mix until smooth.  Beat in enough orange juice to make a good spreading consistency.  Frost bars.
 
The original recipe calls for cutting the bars before frosting so that you don't crack the frosting while cutting the bars, but I didn't have that problem, because I just made sure the frosting was set before cutting, and lets face it, I'm not giving these to critics so it's really okay if they are a little cracked looking, they are still delish!
 

And in case you were wondering, here's what my book looks like after years of use.
  
And I can still read the recipes so that's all that counts!

Serves - 2 dozen

Enjoy!
~Hugs~
Michelle

Here's the handy printable - Dream Bars



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