Monday, May 3, 2010

Double (Not Triple) Citrus Bars

I feel like crying every time I look at my photos as of late. I didn't post a new focaccia recipe I found b/c of how ugly the photos were. Then I forged on and blogged about the chicken carbonara even though the photos were horrible. I just had to blog about that dish b/c it was too good to keep to myself. Now, I have these citrus bars that look almost just as bad as the other photos but taste too insanely good not to share!
I first thought the problem was due to a dirty lens, so I bought a lens cleaner to remedy the problem. Also, I played around with the white balance as usual, but all the photos came out looking funky. I don't know why!! I am guessing the colors are off b/c all the aforementioned dishes already had a yellow hue to them on their own so it was hard for me to get the right color. Therefore, for the current photos, I used the blue container of whipped cream to guide me on the right color, but I still think the overall color of the photos looks off! *CRY*
Oh well. I will move on to tell you about these bars. I hope the weird yellow-green-blue colors don't deter you all from making these bars. You know they must have been good if I went on to post these photos.
You see that bite I took? I almost immediately stopped this photo session after that bite b/c it was so good. I just wanted to eat more. However, I thought about you all and kept clicking away. See how much I love you? LOL!

WARNING: Do not be alone after making and refrigerating these bars! You will eat almost all of them by yourself. They are that good haha. I had to really force myself to not eat the whole thing. I managed to go throw the whole thing within 3 or 4 days, though, and that was hard to do! I do still have 2 more small bars left that will most likely be consumed today hehe.
Oops! I take that back. I guess I couldn't wait much longer. I had to go on and eat that first bar.

The crust was a bit too salty because I put in too much (oops!), but the filling was perfect. It was so soft and creamy and citrusy. It wasnt too acidic though. The reason I'm calling these bars "double citrus bars" is because I didn't have any limes in the house, and as I mentioned in the previous post, I was too broke (and tired) to go to the store and get some limes. So, I used my leftover lemons (double amount) and oranges instead. I also used more citrus juice than what the recipe called for to make it more acidic. If you like it sweeter, then use the amount on the recipe. I have posted the triple version of these bars below. Please make these ASAP!
Be sure to eat these with homemade, whipped cream, too!!

Double, not Triple, Citrus Bars
adapted from Cook's Illustrated and discovered on Bakers Royale
(I made these bars at night, so no process photos today!)

5 ounces (~1 1/4 cups, crushed) animal or graham crackers
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar (light or dark)
pinch of table or kosher salt

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp grated lime zest (I didn't use)
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (I used 3 tsp to replace missing lime zest)
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1 14-oz can of condensed milk
1 egg yolk, room temperature
6 Tbsp lime juice (I didn't have)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I used 8-9 Tbsps to make up for missing lime juice)
1 Tbsp orange juice (I used 2-3 Tbsp)
*The total amount of juice in the recipe comes out to 1/2 cup. I used about 2/3 cups.

Garnish (optional):
3/4 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used 1/2 cup and still ended up with way too much leftover. I suggest using 1/4 cup instead)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut about 12-inch length extra-wide heavy-duty foil; fold cut edges back to form 7 1/2-inch width. With folded sides facing down, fit foil securely into bottom and up sides of 8-inch-square baking pan (I used a rectangular tart pan for (failed) aesthetic reasons), allowing excess to overhang pan sides. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray (I used baker's joy).

TO MAKE THE CRUST: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse animal or graham crackers until broken down, about ten 1-second pulses; process crumbs until evenly fine, about 10 seconds (you should have about 1 1/4 cups crumbs). Add brown sugar and salt; process to combine, ten to twelve 1-second pulses (if large sugar lumps remain, break them apart with fingers). Drizzle butter over crumbs and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened with butter, about ten 1-second pulses. Press crumbs evenly and firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until deep golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling. Do not turn off oven.

TO MAKE THE FILLING: While crust cools, in medium bowl, stir cream cheese, zests, and salt with rubber spatula until softened, creamy, and thoroughly combined. Add sweetened condensed milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated and no lumps of cream cheese remain; whisk in egg yolk. Add juices and whisk gently until incorporated (mixture will thicken slightly).

TO ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Pour filling into crust; spread to corners and smooth surface with rubber spatula. Bake until set and edges begin to pull away slightly from sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Cover with foil and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

Loosen edges with paring knife and lift bars from baking pan using foil extensions; cut bars into 16 squares. Sprinkle with toasted coconut, if using, and serve. (Leftovers can be refrigerated up to 2 days; crust will soften slightly. Let bars stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.)


  1. Que aspecto tan bueno tiene esta receta, me copio tu receta. Un saludo

  2. You are crazy to think those photos are anything but amazing. Seriously. I am so drooling over those bars as I type this, and the craziest thing is that I JUST ate lunch. Like literally 10 minutes ago. I need to make me some lemon bars soon!

  3. Wow, these bars look so everything lemony...and cream cheese with condensed milk...yummie!

  4. Wow, this bars sound incredibly good. Love how silky the filling look.

  5. Lovely recipe. I have been bookmarking so many of your recipes. Re the photos and the yellow colour cast, are you shooting indoors with the lights on? You could try shooting next to a window. I set up my food on my front porch (don't laugh now:-) You could also try correcting the white balanace in Photoshop. I use a free program called GIMP you could try that...take heart my upcoming photos were also plagued with a bunch of problems. No time to re-shoot so they have to be posted:-(

  6. I find it INCREDIBLY hard to photograph yellow food...maybe against a darker backdrop instead of the wooden cutting board? Seriously though I think you are being overly critical (as we bloggers are wont to be)...they look and sound delicious!

  7. I don't know what you are talking about - the photos are calling to me and they look downright delicious. buonissimo.

  8. they look delicious...summery treat :)

  9. Well, since u said it's so good, I'm bookmarking this for next week's bake.

    Thanks for sharing:)

  10. Actually I find this series of photos quite nice :) and they look yummy :)

  11. Wow. These bars look exquisite. I am afraid I might dream with them. I also want to comment on the amazing quality of your pictures they seem to keep getting better and better.

  12. Thankyou for the comment on my Granola pics. I SO understand your pain about delicious things not always photographing the best. It's difficult sometimes to portray all that you can taste in a photo, whereas sometimes something that tastes 'meh' can look fabulous. Your pictures are amazing so just push on through to the next one. I am finding things will come better for me as we start to get some natural sunlight.

  13. YUM! I love citrus bars but I've never had them with orange zest. I happen to have an entire bowlful of citrus sitting on my counter begging to be eaten. I will make these for sure- maybe for Mother's Day!

    PS. Yes I made those popsicles :-)

  14. ciao!!! davvero irresistibile!!! bravissima!! un abbraccio!

  15. How much melted butter do you drizzle into the crust? I can't wait to make these!

  16. I find your pictures beautiful. The combination of condensed milk + citrus must be delicious!.. Mmm I can imagine that tart citrusy flavour... mmm...

  17. hey a lil doubt.. i dont quite like cndensed milk as its tad too sweet for me. but i really would like to try these out. so just wondering , are these on the sweeter side? if so could just reducing the sugar do the trick?

  18. Why do you think your pictures are not good??!! I don't see anything wrong with them. I have been paying attention to foodography in my blog at all... no time, lost patience.

    I love anything citrus and these seems to be my gateway to heaven. Looks awesome.

  19. meant NOT paying attention to the picture part of my recipes ;-)

  20. Man, if you think your photos aren't good then what do you think of mine?! :(

    Thanks for the recipe. My crew is keen on cirtusy desserts. The next time they want lemon bars they're getting these double not triple citrus bars. :)


English: Feel free to write a comment in your own language!
Español: ¡Siente libre de dejar un comentario en tu propio idioma!
Italiano: Sentitevi liberi di scrivere un commento nella vostra lingua!
Português: Fique à vontade de deixar um comentário no seu próprio idioma!
OR français, 한글, or another language!