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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Cranberry Crumble Bars

Cranberry Bars

Christmas often goes by, and I am left with a bag or two of fresh cranberries that I have stashed away in the freezer. Truthfully, I'm not a huge fan of cranberries in baking-maybe it's the tartness, but either way I never have that many recipes to use them. Recently I discovered this recipe, and fell in love with it. These bars are like a crumble, with some orange cutting the tartness of the cranberries and the almond topping giving it a healthy feel. These bars are not hugely sweet and make a great lunchbox snack. I made them a little more adult oriented by adding some Grand Marnier to the cranberry filling, but you can easily skip that.

Adapted from Whitewater Cooks With Friends 

Base
¾ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup ground almonds

Filling
½ cup water
½ cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
2 tsp orange zest
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Topping
¼ cup flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
2 tbsp cold butter

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

To make the base, stir the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, flour, and almonds together in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your hands until everything is combined. Press the base into a greased 9x13 inch cake pan. Bake the base for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool slightly.

In a saucepan, heat the water, orange juice, sugar, and orange juice over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Let the mixture boil for about five minutes stirring in the cranberries. Continue to cook and stir for five minutes more while the cranberries pop. Cool somewhat and stir in the Grand Marnier before spreading over the base.

Stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and almonds together in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle over the filling and place the pan in the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Watch them carefully, as mine had a tendency to cook a little too much around the edges.

Cool and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, or freeze in a single layer for a few weeks.

Makes about 16.
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