Friday, August 19, 2011

Tequila Sunrise Bars

Even though this is a popular bar drink, I cannot help but think of the Mel Gibson movie by the same name where he played Mac McKussic.  That was back in 1988 when Mel was such a hot commodity. 

Surprisingly, with all the bad publicity concerning his personal life, he is still writing screenplays and starring in them.  The most recent one is called "How I Spent my Summer Vacation".   He portrays a criminal in a Mexican prison.  There is no release date for the US yet, but it is going to be showing in Finland and Sweden later this month.

Anyhow, enough of Mel, lets get back to food!  These bars are two layers, the first and major layer being orange tequila and the second little layer is flavored with grenadine.  To make it look more colorful, I have sprinkled pink powdered sugar on top.  I am delighted with the flavor and the appearance of these bars and will definitely make them again.

I made a few changes that will help.  On the grenadine layer, the recipe calls for orange zest for sprinkling.  Since fresh orange zest is usually damp and clumpy, I used zest from the spice aisle at the grocery.  Also, the instructions are to color the dough after you put the flour in, but it is easier to color the batter before adding the flour.  It also makes for a more even tinting.

Tequila Sunrise Bars
courtesy of The Sophisticated Cookie Cookbook

Ingredients/Base Layer
3 tbs Tequila
food coloring (orange, or mix of red/yellow to make orange)
2 tbs fresh orange juice
2 tbs grated orange zest
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup butter (room temp) 

Ingredients/Grenadine Layer
2 tbs grated orange zest (for sprinkling)
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbs flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tbs grenadine

To make the first layer, grease bottom and sides of an 8 inch square pan.  Then line bottom and two sides (leaving an overhang on the sides) with parchment paper.  Grease face up side of parchment lining the bottom of the pan.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together butter and powdered sugar in a medium size bowl.  Once it has a smooth consistency, add orange juice, zest and tequila.  Beat until evenly dispersed.  Add food coloring a few drops at a time and beat.  Continue with this process of adding the coloring and mixing until you are satisfied with the color.  Set aside.

In another bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.  Then fold into wet batter until no more dry streaks remain.  Empty dough into baking pan and, using damp hands, spread the dough evenly inside the pan.  Place pan in oven and bake for 12 minutes.

As the layer is baking, you will need to prepare the batter for the grenadine layer. In a small bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Set aside.

Crack eggs into medium bowl and beat for about 10 seconds.  Then add sugar and beat at medium high speed for 3 minutes.  Add the grenadine and beat for an additional minute.  Stir the flour mixture into the batter.

Once the base layer has baked, remove from oven and pour the grenadine batter over the top, making sure it is even . Then sprinkle with the orange zest. Place back in oven for 17-20 minutes.  The top and edges should be brown when done.

Remove from oven and dust heavily with powdered sugar.  Let cool on a wire rack for a few hours or until top is set.  Then slide a knife around the edges and lift out with parchment handles.  Then it is ready to cut and serve.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container. Cheers!