Chocolate Tangerine Bars

One of my favorite smells of Christmas is a fresh-peeled orange.
…or a tangerine, or any kind of citrus.

As kids, we always got a huge orange in our stocking and whenever I catch a whiff of orange peel, I’m immediately taken back those Christmas mornings and the excitement that comes with the holidays.

Now as much as I love eating oranges, tangerines are growing on me. Most varieties have more seeds than oranges and a tougher skin, making it messier when you bite them in half. But I just can’t resist how cute they are! I guess there’s a reason they’re called “Cuties.” And with all that aroma in the peel alone, I had to use them for a little recipe experiment….
I combined my favorite Christmas scent with my favorite sweet treat (chocolate). And the results were highly positive. I couldn’t stop eating the finished product!
Oh Yum.
I’m sad they’re all gone.

I put a secret stash in the freezer but who was I kidding? Owen and I finished those off in a few days. And while Lucy was a good sport to try them, the flavor was a bit bold for her. Those specks of tangerine rind do pack a lot of punch. So scale back the amount of rind for a lighter taste or, add more if you’re a tangerine-aholic.

You can use any sort of orange, tangerine, clementine, cuties, etc. for this recipe. They all give you that Christmas cheer and reminds me of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange. But in my biased opinion, this is better.
Chocolate Tangerine Bars
with Clementine Buttercream

makes appx 2 dozen
recipe can easily be doubled to fit in a 9×13 pan

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl tangerine juice

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup semi-sweet choc chips
1/2 cup white choc chunks (or chips)
1/2 cup tangerine rinds (about 2-3 tangerines)

Clementine Buttercream Frosting
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbl tangerine juice
1 Tbl tangerine zest
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

First prepare your “treats.” I used a mix of white and semi-sweet chocolate for the bars. But you can use whatever type of chocolate you love (milk, extra-dark, etc). I like Guittard brand semi-sweet chips. And for the white chocolate I like to chop up large bars–sometimes called Almond Bark–so I have big uneven chunks. Make sure you scoop up the tiny shavings from the cutting board too. You want those to infuse the brownie bars.
Next prepare your tangerine rind–do this while the tangerine is whole. Go with the method you prefer. Personally I like a zingy bite in my brownies, so I use a cheese grater to zest the rind into larger bits. You need about 2-3 tangerines for this recipe, including the frosting. And for the frosting I do smaller-sized zest so that you end up with little specks of rind.
Now let’s make our bars….

In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a mixer or large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugars till combined. Add in the egg, vanilla, and tangerine juice and beat for 2-3 minutes till the mixture is light and fluffy. Add in the cocoa powder mixture and mix till combined. Finally, mix in the chocolate chips, white chunks, and rinds.
Note: If the citrus flavor is too strong for your taste, you might leave the rinds out of the brownie mix and only use them in the frosting.

You’ve got a yummy dough! Take a sample bite.

Spread the mixture evenly into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. That’s a wide range. But each oven is different, so make sure you check them with a toothpick and once a poke to the center comes out fairly clean, they’re done. When in doubt, I prefer underbaked and chewy bars, rather than overbaked and dry.

Let the brownies cool while you prepare the buttercream frosting.
In a small bowl beat together the butter, tangerine juice, and zest. Mix in the powdered (confectioner’s) sugar, adding more sugar or juice as needed till you have a thick consistency. The yellow/orange color is captivating.

When the bars are cool, spread a thick layer of frosting over the top.
Then cut them into small squares (a small bite goes a long way–these are rich), and serve. Bars can be stored in the fridge or freezer and taste extra yummy when they’re cold.
Check out the Sweets and Treats archive page HERE.

  1. Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I’ve book marked it for later!

  2. 2) Bri

    These are delicious – one of my favorite desserts. I love the chocolate and orange combination and these are perfect! I am making them again today and realized I’d never left a comment. Thanks for the recipe!

Leave a Comment