When cranberries are fresh in the fall, I buy several pounds of them, to store in the freezer. I use them for all sorts of baking, adding to savoury stuffings, sliced thinly to garnish, or to add as a tart bite to salads. They’re a great addition to home-made dog food, too (in case you were wondering).
This year I thought I’d be smart and buy 10 pounds of them. That’s a whole lot of cranberries. Now as winter dies down (I’m being optimistic), I’ve been making curd with them. As I was figuring that out, I thought about trying them as a topping for a cookie bar, like lemon bars. After a few tries, I’ve got this one figured out. They need a little more cooking, and a little more stabilizing from flour than lemon bars. The red filling is a nice change, and the tartness of the berries with the orange citrus is very yummy.
So here’s hoping that you have 4 cups of cranberries languishing in your freezer, so you can try these out.
Makes One 9” x 13” Pan (48 pieces)
1 c butter, cut up into 1” cubes
½ c icing sugar
2 c flour
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
4 large eggs
1½ c sugar
½ c flour
1 t baking powder
pinch of salt
icing sugar – to dust
Zest and juice the orange, keeping them separate
Put the orange juice in a measuring cup, and top up with water until you have ¾ cup of liquid.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst and the juices are running freely.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Pulse the crust ingredients in a processor until no piece of butter is larger than a pea.
Line the bottom and ends of a 9” x 13” pan with parchment. This is so it is easy to lift out the bars after cooling, for cutting.
Spread the processed crust ingredients into the pan, pressing down with your hands.
Bake for 12 minutes.
While the crust bakes, mix up the filling.
Let cool on a rack, then chill.
Run a knife down the long sides of the pan, releasing the sides of the bars.
Using the parchment at the ends of the pan, lift the squares out to a cutting surface.
Cut across into 8 long bars, and then cut each of those bars into 6 pieces.
Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Plate the squares, and then dust with icing sugar using a sieve. Hold the sieve about 10 – 12 inches above the bars so you get a dusting of sugar instead of clumps.