August 25, 2013

Cranberry Orange Bars

I am a made-from-scratch kinda girl. I may have lived on boxed muffin mixes for a few months while pregnant, I may love a good cup-o-noodles or bowl of Ramen from time to time, and boxed brownies really are pretty darn good, but that's not the stuff I blog. I'm never going to tell you twenty things to do with a box of cake mix or a can of Pillsbury crescents. Nothing wrong with updating a cake mix, that's just not what I do! So when I saw these delicious cranberry orange bars floating around the internet, and discovered they were mostly cake mix, well, challenge accepted! They're probably yummy just the way they are, but that's just not as much fun as creating a whole new recipe! And if I want to write a cookbook someday, far, far off in the misty uncertain future, I certainly can't do it with other people's recipes, can I?

Cranberry Orange Bars
Printable Recipe

3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tb cornstarch
4 cups fresh/frozen cranberries
Juice and zest of 1 orange

1 cup butter (2 sticks) cut into 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Zest from 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup soft light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup butter, melted

First, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Combine the sugar mixture and water in a medium saucepan. Stir until all the sugar is moistened. Add cranberries, juice, and zest. Cook on medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the berries break down and the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, and let cool completely. (You can put it in the fridge to speed things up.)

Next, put the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat the butter until it starts to soften. Add the sugar, vanilla, and zest, and beat till fully mixed (it's not going to get fluffy and creamy, no worries!) Add the flour and salt and mix on low till combined into a soft dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking dish with foil and grease it. Scatter the dough in small lumps over the bottom of the dish. Press dough down and together to cover the bottom as evenly as possible. Bake the crust for 15 minutes, or until barely golden. Remove and let cool.

Once the bottom crust has cooled, spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Stir together the oats, flour, sugar, and spices in a separate bowl. Stir in melted butter till completely combined. Sprinkle topping over the cranberry sauce, then gently press down to smooth and compact it. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely before serving!! (I stuck mine in the fridge)
SO. I took my favorite shortbread crust, switched the white sugar for brown and added orange zest. More orange is always a good thing! Then I topped it with a variation of a new favorite crumble of mine. Altogether, positively scrumptious!!
Rich, tangy, bright and fruity cranberry filling, on top of orangey shortbread, with deliciously spiced crunchy crumble on top, these bars are so yummy. A little more fall than summer, definitely, but so good! I'm glad I froze a few bags of cranberries last fall!
I like them best cold, right out of the fridge. But if you really wanted to be decadent, you could warm them up and serve them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I wish I had, that sounds amazing!!

1 comment :

  1. April, I love that you are not afraid to take an idea and make it your own! YOu remind me so much of me. You are a fab cook, truly. These look just wonderful. I like the idea of eating these warm with ice cream. Nice one! xxoo


Your comments really DO make my day, and I promise to try and reply to each and every one, either through email or on here :)