Why should lemons have all the fun? These classic cookie bars show off the taste of fresh, radiant oranges by substituting lemon zest for orange zest and adding some fresh orange juice with the lemon juice. They are the perfect treat to highlight one of winter's best citrus treats. The South is no stranger to these drops of sunshine, as Florida alone accounts for over half of the country's citrus, with Texas being the third biggest producer. Fresh citrus zest, or finely grated rind, adds a vibrant layer of flavor to sweet and savory recipes. However, you will need to make sure that you only grate the outer layer and not the white pith, which has an unwanted bitter flavor. The best tool to unlock all that zing is a rasp grater (such as a Microplane), but how you use it can make all the difference. Instead of holding the citrus over the grater and letting the ribbons fall, try grating with the U-shape of the tool facing up—this will not only keep the shreds collected but also make it easier to avoid grating the bitter white pith. Make sure these treats are completely cooled, about 30 minutes, before transferring them to a serving dish and garnishing with powdered sugar.

Southern Living


Credit: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe Summary test

15 mins
1 hr 25 mins
Makes about 2 dozen bars


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare recipe as directed, substituting orange zest for lemon zest and 1/2 cup fresh orange juice and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice for the 3/4 cup lemon juice. Using a small wooden pick, stir a small amount of red food coloring gel into filling mixture before pouring into crust in Step 4. Proceed with recipe as directed.