Hibiscus + Blood Orange Bars
Believe it or not, I got the inspiration for these bars from a seasonal kombucha flavor I tried the other day! This one. I loved the combination of tart and bright hibiscus with sweet blood orange and thought it would translate well in a dessert! I originally had plans to incorporate the rose flavor as well in a ganache but when I made the bars, I realized that would've been too much with these. But I already had the ganache made and thought hey! This would make some delicious truffles so there may or may not be a recipe for those coming soon, wink wink ;).
The first time I made these, I went with a curd filling but the blood orange juice didn't react well when baked so I decided to scrap that and went down the lemon bar route. The result is a chewy, almost fudgy-textured filling with a buttery shortbread crust and just the right amount of sweetness. These are so pretty, too! I mean, that color! Enjoy! And if you make these, be sure to share using #allpurposeflourchild so I can see your creations!
Hibiscus + Blood Orange Bars
makes 12 bars
1 c unsalted grass-fed butter (2 sticks), room temperature
1/2 c organic cane sugar
2 c all purpose flour
big pinch of Himalayan pink salt
1/4 c dried hibiscus flowers (I found mine in the bulk section of my local health food market)
1/4 c boiling water
7 large pasture-raised eggs, room temperature
3 c organic cane sugar
1 c blood orange juice, freshly squeezed (from about 3-4 medium oranges)
2 T blood orange zest (from about 2-3 medium oranges)
1 c all purpose flour
make the crust
Preheat oven to 350 F. First pour the boiling water over the hibiscus leaves and give it a stir to make sure all the leaves are submerged. Cover with plastic wrap and set mixture aside to steep for at least 20 minutes (as long as the crust takes to bake). In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until just comes together. Add in the flour and salt and mix until dough forms. Press dough into a parchment-lined 9x13 inch baking pan. It might look like you don't have enough dough to cover the bottom of the pan but you do, trust me! Just be patient and gently spread out as evenly as you can. Pro tip: save your butter wrappers and use them to press the dough out. Bake for about 20 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
make the filling
Puree the cooled hibiscus mixture (water and all) in a high-powered blender or food processor until fully pureed. The mixture should be mostly smooth but it's ok if there's some small flecks of hibiscus. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs well to break up all the whites. Add in the sugar, orange juice and zest, hibiscus puree, and flour. Whisk well to combine and pour mixture over the cooled crust. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until just set and a little wobbly in the middle. (It'll firm up as it cools). Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and slicing into bars. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- If you can't find blood oranges, this works just as well with any variety of orange you'd like!
- If you're having a hard time finding loose leaf dried hibiscus flowers, you can totally open a few bags of hibiscus herbal tea as well. You can certainly leave out the hibiscus altogether too, if you don't like the flavor. If you decide to leave it out, sub in about 1/4 c of fresh lemon juice to add some acidity that hibiscus provides here.