A cross between a blondie and cake, these simple glazed orange poppy seed bars are packed with white chocolate, vanilla, and fresh orange flavor.
- 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter
- 8 ounces (226g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- juice and zest from 1 orange*
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 and 3/4 cups (219g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 3 Tablespoons (45ml) whole milk*
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh orange juice*
- 2 cups (240g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- optional garnish: orange slices
- Make the bars: Melt the butter and white chocolate together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes. Or melt in a medium microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring after each, in the microwave. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and allow to slightly cool for 10 minutes.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan* with aluminum foil or parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Set aside.
- Whisk the granulated sugar into the cooled butter mixture. Whisk in the orange juice and zest, then the eggs. Whisk until the batter is completely smooth, then whisk in the vanilla. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and poppy seeds together. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the bars are lightly browned around the sides and on top. If you find they are browning too quickly on top, loosely cover the bars with aluminum foil. A toothpick inserted into the center of the bars should come out with very few moist crumbs when the bars are done. All ovens are different, so keep an eye on them after 30 minutes and use the toothpick test to see when yours are finished. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.
- Make the glaze: Combine the glaze ingredients, except for the fresh orange slices, in a medium saucepan over low heat. Whisk until the glaze is smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and either (1) pour glaze over the cooled pan of orange bars, then cut the bars into squares or (2) keep the saucepan of glaze over low heat, cut the orange bars into squares, and dip each individually into the glaze. Garnish each square with orange. The glaze will set after about 10 minutes.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: These bars can be made 3 days in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve. I suggest glazing and garnishing with an orange right before serving. Glazed or unglazed bars freeze well, up to 3 months. Simply thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving. Leftover bars can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 week.
- Oranges: 1 medium orange will lend around 1/4 cup fresh orange juice. So if you buy a large orange, just use 1/4 cup juice total in the bars. The zest amount can vary, but you can never go wrong with lots of fresh orange zest. For the glaze, you’ll need the juice from half of a medium orange. Bottled orange juice can work for both the bars and the glaze.
- Milk: For creamiest texture, use whole milk. A lower milk fat would be fine; do not use skim.
- Pan: You can use an 11×7 inch baking pan instead – the bake time is about the same.
Keywords: orange poppy seed bars, glazed orange bars