Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cranberry Crumble Bars

Need a brief reprieve from all that sugar.  Icing laden sugar cookies, candy studded gignerbread and sugar dusted snikcerdoodles seem to dominate many a holiday table.  Very the smell of the confections is enough to send you into a sugar coma! 

These bars offer a slight break from the holiday hyperglycemia.  They are rich and buttery, slightly sweet and topped with a wonderfully tart cranberry layer. 

adapted from Smitten Kitchen via The Baker Chick.

Yields 24 bars

The Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces)
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of one orange
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
4 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
4 tsp cornstarch

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 375. Generously grease a 9×13 inch pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar,  flour, and baking powder. Mix in salt and orange zest. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg.  The  dough will be very crumbly. Press half of dough into the prepared pan.

In another bowl, stir together the 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and orange juice and cinnamon. Gently fold in the cranberries. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the cranberries.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

The Review:
I brought these along with me to a friend's family gathering on Christmas Eve.  Everyone who tried the bars absolutely loved them!  The bars come together very quickly and were consumed almost as fast.  The crust and topping is  very basic and almost short bread like.  The crumbliness of it frustrated me at first, but these were far less stressful to make than the endless rolling and cutting of sugar cookies.

I imagine the simple buttery flavor of the dough would lend itself well to other fruit combinations.  Smitten Kitchen recipe original recipe used blueberries.  I imagine a raspberry,  bourbon peach, cardamom plum or lingonberry apple would be equally divine!

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