This Jeweled Orange Gumdrop Bar Cookie recipe is one of our Thanksgiving AND Christmas traditions. They are so incredibly delicious with their combination of orange and cinnamon that they have to be made for both of the Holidays or everyone is disappointed. Plus, our family has grown, and instead of just one batch, I now have to make 2 batches, so that they can be divided and each family gets enough to satisfy their craving for it. You will be adding them to you “CRAVE” list after your first bite, too.
I first tasted this holiday bar cookie when my dear next-door neighbor, Catherine, brought us some. I asked for the recipe immediately after that first bite—I was hooked and so was my family! Catherine was like a mother to me and a grandmother to my daughters from when they were first born. One of her daughters, Barbara, was the first babysitter for my eldest, and our families remain close today, even though we are now many miles apart.
I have made these to take to a Potluck a couple of times, but hardly anyone ever picked one up, so I gave up taking them, but the family continued to look forward to them. In thinking about why no one would even pick one up, I realized that 1. You couldn’t tell what they really were by looking at a plateful, and 2. They looked so bland and uninspiring—all beige-y, not yummy looking. But the family Never complained, for they knew how good they were.
My eldest granddaughter was able to join me for the day and help make these 2 batches, so we made a memory together. Kaitlyn lives 3 hours away, is a busy high school senior, and this was the first time she had been able to come to our home before a holiday, later joined by the rest of her family, since we celebrated a few days early.
In the pictures you will see our efforts at trying to make them look more attractive and the problem we ran into. First we tried to come up with a design for the whole top. I wanted a look that said– “You Want to Pick Me Up and Take a Bite!” We decided that maybe a flower design made of thin orange gumdrop slices might look attractive. Then when we tried to cut it into bars we had to cut through each design and saw immediately that it wouldn’t work.
We realized it needed a design or decorative element that would fit on each piece, not the whole thing. You know that saying, “Keep It Simple Stupid!”
Recalling that ended up being just the advice we needed—just a snippet of the orange gumdrop on top. I removed all the orange gumdrop slices we had made, and was about to just cut them into simple squares, when my daughter, Holly, Kaitlyn’s mom, came up with the idea of cutting them into (beautiful I’d say!) diamond shapes. So that’s how it all evolved.
I need to tell you 2 important things to remember about this recipe. First, it is yummiest if it isn’t too dry, so avoid over baking it. Go for the top of it looking blond, not lightly golden. Second, the frosting is so good that it sends it over the top! So don’t use any other frosting—don’t go for a store-bought frosting. Once you have made this frosting, you will be convinced it is worth the small effort! Tell us how you like it.
If you attempting my Orange Gumdrop Bar Cookie Recipe, be sure to take a photo and tag me @onlinefoodblog on Instagram or Twitter. I would love nothing more than to see your creations!
For the Bar Cookie 2 cups brown sugar (equiv. to 1 box) 1 Tbsp water 2 cups flour ½ tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon pinch of nutmeg 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup chopped orange gumdrops ¼ cup flour For the Frosting: 2 -3 tbsp fresh orange juice, (add more if needed) zest from 1 orange 1 cup powdered sugar (add more if needed) 1 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. For the Bar Cookie: For the frosting: Try out our Orange Gumdrop Bar Cookie Recipe and post your results below in the comments…
How to make Jeweled Orange Gumdrop Bar Cookie
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
For the Bar Cookie
2 cups brown sugar (equiv. to 1 box)
1 Tbsp water
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chopped orange gumdrops
¼ cup flour
For the Frosting:
2 -3 tbsp fresh orange juice, (add more if needed)
zest from 1 orange
1 cup powdered sugar (add more if needed)
1 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
For the Bar Cookie:
For the frosting:
Try out our Orange Gumdrop Bar Cookie Recipe and post your results below in the comments…