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Best Ever Orange Bars

These Best Ever Orange Bars truly are the BEST! Juicy, creamy, sweet, gooey and SO amazing with pure orange flavor in every mouthwatering bite!
Prep Time4 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time5 hrs
Course: Bars, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Dessert

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar

For the Filling:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 28 oz sweetened condensed milk (two 14-oz cans)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • Zest of one medium orange
  • 1 tsp pure orange extract optional but recommended
  • Whipped cream for garnish, optional but recommended

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Line an 8x8 square light metal baking pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray the foil liberally with cooking spray; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and granulated sugar until moistened. Pour the crust into the prepared baking dish and press the crust into an even, compact layer. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven but keep oven on. Cool for about 5 minutes.
  • For the filling: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until smooth. Add in the sweetened condensed milk and mix well until smooth. Add in the orange juice, orange zest and orange extract, if using, and mix until fully combined. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and smooth out the top.
  • Bake for an additional 10-20 minutes or until the filling is just about set. If it jiggles slightly, that's okay, but it should not be sloshing around in the pan. I found mine to bake closer to the 20 minute mark, but yours may take around the 10 minute mark which explains the large baking time difference. If needed, continue baking past 20 minute mark in 5 minute increments. I think because orange juice tends to be a touch more watery, it causes the filling to take longer. Cool the bars for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours to cool, firm and set. Just before cutting into squares, garnish with fresh whipped cream, if desired. Store any remaining bars in the refrigerator.

Notes

There is a larger baking time difference in the orange bars versus the original key lime bar recipe. The orange bars take around 10-20 minutes to bake. Why? Sometimes I find orange juice is more watery than key lime juice, which could cause the filling to take longer to bake and set up in the oven. My filling took closer to 20 minutes in the oven to set up, but yours may take closer to 10. Check at the 10 minute mark and increase in 5 minute increments until filling is just about set. If it jiggles slightly, that's okay, but it should not be sloshing around in the pan. If you go past the 20 minute mark, that's okay, too. Again, it shouldn't be sloshing around. You want it slightly jiggly and just about set.