Spirited Chocolate Orange Bars

This week was the summer solstice which officially ushered in Summer.  There are many reasons that we love Summer.  One reason is that it is filled with countless cookouts, family reunions, and casual get-togethers with friends.  We never want to show up empty-handed for these casual occasions.  Of course, Craig is always popular because he can supply a beverage or two, but we like to show our appreciation to the host and hostess with other treats, too.

spirited chocolate orange bars

Rhonda snipped this recipe from the Dallas Morning News about a year ago during their annual bake off competition.  We adapted the recipe submitted by Rex Poland of Dallas, and just recently had time to try it.  When you show up at the family reunion with this sweet treat, you will be the favorite cousin for sure!

The ingredients are mostly basic things that you have in your pantry or fridge – unsalted butter, semi-sweet baking chocolate bars (we used Ghirardelli chocolate) , eggs, sugar, cream cheese, freshly grated orange zest, and heavy cream.  You will need some Kerrygold Irish Cream and Cointreau for the spirit in the Spirited Chocolate Orange Bars.  There is one ingredient that was a bit tricky for us to find – plain chocolate cookies, such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers.  We did not find these on the cookie aisle.  With some help from our handy dandy Kroger manager, we discovered that they are kept near the ice cream sundae supplies on the baking aisle.

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The recipe is easy to follow but has several steps.  First you crush the cookies and melted butter in a food processor. Then you press the crust in a 8 X 12 inch baking pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Next  melt the chocolate in a microwave and set aside.

spirited chocolate orange bars 5

Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl beat cream cheese. Then beat the egg mixture into the cream cheese.  Divide the cream cheese mixture in two bowls.

Stir in melted chocolate into the one bowl of cream cheese mixture.  In the other bowl of cream cheese add orange zest and Cointreau.

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Gently pour each mixture over the cookie base and swirl gently with a spatula.  Bake about 25 minutes.  Turn off the oven and cool with the door ajar to room temperature.

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While the bars are cooling, prepare the ganache.  Melt semi-sweet chocolate in the microwave.  Heat heavy cream to a hot temperature.  Combine the cream and melted chocolate, and 1 ounce of Kerrygold Irish Cream stirring until smooth.

Spread ganache over the top of the cooled bars and refrigerate for 3 hours.  When ready to serve cut the bars into squares and serve.

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Spirited Chocolate Orange Bars

Yield: 2-3 dozen

Spirited Chocolate Orange Bars


  • 8 ounces of plain chocolate cookies, such as Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3.5 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, such as Ghirardelli
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 16 ounces of whipped cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1.5 tablespoons of freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 ounce of Cointreau liqueur
  • For Ganache:
  • 5 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 ounce of Kerrygold Irish Cream


  1. Prepare an 8 x 12 inch shallow baking pan by lining the base with foil, extending 2 inches over long sides.
  2. Pulse cookies in a food processor until fine. Add butter and process to combine. Press mixture over base of pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Melt chocolate in a microwave on low power in short bursts. Stir in between to avoid over cooking. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese. Beat egg mixture into the cream cheese and divide into two.
  5. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into a medium bowl and stir in cooled melted chocolate. In another bowl, combine the other half of the cream cheese mixture with the orange zest and Cointreau, stirring well.
  6. Gently pour each mixture over the chilled crust. Swirl gently with the tip of a spatula. Bake approximately 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and cool with the door ajar, to room temperature. When the baked crust and filling has cooled, spread ganache over the top. Refrigerate 3 hours or over night. Cut into bars. Store in airtight container.
  7. Ganache:
  8. Melt 5 ounces of chocolate in a microwave. Heat 1/4 cup of heavy cream in microwave to hot temperature. Combine chocolate and cream. Stirring until smooth. Add in 1 ounce of Kerrygold Irish Cream and stir until smooth and combined.

This recipe has a few extra steps, but the final outcome is definitely worth it.  The chocolate and orange flavors compliment each other nicely for a tasty treat. Will you bring Spirited Chocolate Orange Bars to your next casual gathering?

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