Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cranberry Streusel Shortbread Bars

The holidays generally are times when we stick with traditions. Traditional activities, traditional foods, traditional customs, etc.

When it comes to baking though I like to try different things, especially in light of this blog I'm attempting to build.

10 days ago I made a Cranberry Banana bread that I was very pleased with. A different, but delicious blend of flavors. It was well received by all.

I therefore was left with half a bag of fresh cranberries, so I searched for an interesting cookie/bar recipe and I think I came up with one. These are simply very very good. I bet if you try them, they may become part of a new tradition at your house as they did in mine.

Adapted from: Fine Cooking and CookieBakerLynn

Crust and Topping:

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
3 egg yolks
3 cups flour

Cranberry topping:

1/2 bag (6 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
about 1-1/4 cups dried cherries
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup water

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhanging edge.

In a medium bowl, stir the butter, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Whisk in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Transfer about 2 cups of the dough to the prepared pan, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes to firm up the dough.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and another near the top. Heat the oven to 325 deg. F.

Bake the dough on the center rack until the crust begins to set and is just beginning to brown around the edges. about 20 minutes.

While the crust bakes prepare the filling and topping. With your fingers, combine the remaining 1/3 cup sugar (I used brown sugar instead) with the reserved dough until crumbly. The mixture should hold together when pressed, but readily break into smaller pieces. I found I needed to add another two tablespoons of flour to get it exactly the right crumbly consistency.

In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar, nutmeg and 1/4 cup water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes - the syrup will continue to thicken as the mixture cools.

Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the hot crust. Scatter the streusel over the cranberries. Increase the oven temperature to 350 deg. F and bake the bars near the top of the oven until the streusel is golden and set, about 25-30 minutes. (Baking at the top of the even allows the streusel to brown without getting the bottom crust overdone.)

Set the pan on a cooling rack. Cool at least 1 hour, until the crust is completely firm.

When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the parchment paper and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares.


noble pig said...

Wow, they look delicious! Love the idea of this.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I cant' tell you how awesome these look. i am saving this recipe!

Kevin said...

What a nice way to enjoy cranberries!