Sturdy Baking for the Win
The other day I was searching through Christmas cookie recipes when I decided to head off in a different direction. Bars! I tend to overlook bars because they’re often difficult to cut up and don’t travel well. Any baking that isn’t sturdy enough to travel the ten hours to my parent’s house for Christmas is likely to get cut from the baking list.
Variety is the Spice of Life
So I was torn between wanting a variety of tastes and textures on my Christmas goodie platter or having everything uniform and travel ready. Of course, variety is the spice of life. Fingers crossed they make it to the farm intact I guess.
Building a Sturdy Bar
The perfect place to start building a sturdy bar is the base. The base for these Cranberry Bars is similar to shortbread. There has to be enough butter in it to hold everything together, but not too much as to make it ooze. Packing the crumbly mixture well, then baking it ensures that the bars will not crumble while you’re holding them.
The Middle Layer
Another draw with making bars is that they are usually super easy. For this recipe, I prefer the cranberry filling to be made with fresh cranberries. Why use canned cranberries when you can make your own? However, if you do have some leftover cranberries you can use those and turn out the same results. The only thing to be aware of here is to cook them down just enough so that the middle layer doesn’t ooze when you cut the cold bars.
The Top Layer
Like onions, bars have layers. These Cranberry Bars are topped with more of that delicious shortbread crumble from the base layer. You just can’t go wrong with more shortbread!
These Cranberry Bars hit the mark on taste, texture, and travel-ability. They were a huge hit with the entire family and add variety to the Christmas goodie platter both visually and in taste.
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Cranberry Bliss from Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen
- 1 12 oz package of cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup butter; room temp.
- 1 egg; beaten
- *if using cranberry sauce, substitute 3 cups cranberry sauce for the cranberries, sugar, and water.
- Cook cranberries, sugar, and water in a pot. Stirring frequently for about 15 minutes until they thicken up. Let cool.
- In a bowl, mix sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Cut in butter until the texture is crumbly then add the egg.
- Sprinkle just over half of the mixture into a 9×13 pan then pack down into a solid crust.
- Spread the cooled cranberry sauce over top of the crust then sprinkle the remaining crumb over top.
- Bake in 350°F oven for 40 minutes until the top is golden.
- Cool, then slice into squares.