Cranberry-Orange Bars

September 25, 2012

THIS WEEK, I had great fun making (and eating) Cranberry-Orange Bars. What a flavor-explosion! The bars are sweet, tart, moist and crumbly. And they are a cinch to make:


Cranberry-Orange Bars
Ingredients for about 24 2-inch by 1-inch rectangles
The crust:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
8 oz cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 egg, beaten

The cranberry mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Juice from half an orange
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

To start, pour cranberries into a colander or mesh sieve, and rinse them under cold water. Should you find any stems on the berries, remove them. The stems, I mean.

Then grate the peel of one orange.

 

Whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and orange peel in a big blue bowl.  Then, using your fingers, a fork, or a pastry-blending gadget (above), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the beaten egg.

Of course, you could very well use a food processor to make this dough.  Just give the dry ingredients a quick spin. Then pulse in the butter, and finally, the egg.

This morning, I made my dough entirely by hand. Why? Because for some reason, the power goes out rather frequently in my area. Consequently I like to keep my manual dough-making skills in shape.

I also like the exercise that by-hand cooking provides.

Pour half of  the dough mixture into a greased 13×9-inch pan. Use your knuckles to press the dough into the pan.

Did you know that pressing dough into a pan is kinda-sorta an aerobic exercise?

More exercise: Grab a medium-size bowl, and whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Then whisk in the  juice of half an orange.

And please note the sunlight that’s reflected upon the bowl. It’s the result of my recent window-cleaning efforts.

I burned quite a few calories while cleaning those windows.

Add the cranberries, and gently toss them with a rubber spatula until all are coated with the sugar solution.

Pour the cranberries into the pan. Use a spatula to spread them as evenly as you can.

Sprinkle the remaining crust over the cranberries. And if your berries are on the small side, feel free to use less than all of the remaining crust. The decision is entirely yours.

Bake on the lower-middle rack of the pre-heated 375-degree oven until the top crust is lightly browned — 45-55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour. This cooling and chilling time — which will feel like an eternity — will firm up the bars and make them easy to slice.

Can I offer you a bite?

Need a copy-and-paste version of the above recipe? Here goes:

Cranberry-Orange Bars
Ingredients for about 24 2-inch by 1-inch bars
The crust:
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons grated orange zest
8 oz cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 egg, beaten

The cranberry mixture:
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Juice from half of one orange (1/4 to 1/3 cup)
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Special Equipment – A food processor OR a pastry-blender; a buttered or non-stick-sprayed 9×13-inch pan

1. Making the crust – Preheat oven to 375F. Whisk together the sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and orange zest. Then, using your fingers, a fork, a pastry-blender or a food-processor, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the beaten egg.

2. Forming the bottom crust – Turn half the crumbly mix into the greased pan, and pat it down with your fingers to coat the entire bottom of the pan.

3. The berries – In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Then stir in the orange juice. Add the cranberries, and gently move them about with a rubber spatula until all are coated with the sugar solution.

4. Finishing the bars -Spread the berry mixture over the bottom crust. Top with the remaining crust. (If it looks like too much crust for the size or amount of berries, feel free to use less than all of the remaining topping.)

5. Baking and Chilling the bars – Bake on the lower-middle rack of the preheated 375F oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the top crust just begins to color. Allow the pan to cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack. Then place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pan, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Cut into rectangles, and serve cold or at room-temperature.

Think you’ll try these morsels of tart and sweet deliciousness?? You can let me know by leaving a comment below. As always, I love to hear from you.

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Related Posts:
Blueberry Bars
Whole Wheat Pita Bread
Caramelized Butternut Squash Soup
Apple Crisp

Comments

  1. Carolyn Collins says:

    Beautiful- That looks like a winner alright.

  2. Nicole says:

    I’ve made your blueberry recipe a couple times and my husband loves them. I’ve also done a blueberry/raspberry mix and a strawberry — all delicious!

  3. Jan says:

    Mmmmm looks delicious and i will certainly give them a try.. I love the recipes you do and have tried several of them.. Keep up the good work…xxx

  4. Carolyn Collins – thanks!

    Nicole – Ooo, strawberry bars…must try!

    Jan – So glad you enjoy the recipes here — I certainly enjoy preparing them.

  5. Robin says:

    Yum! And I just found a couple of bags of cranberries in the freezer! Great timing….

  6. Brenda Johnson says:

    Oh those look yummy Kevin!!! (I’ll be at work after 1 today!!! In case there are any leftovers you need to find a home for….)

  7. Robin – If you make these, let me know how they turn out for you, okay?

    Brenda – I was about to head over. Will bring you these bars to try some time after 1PM. So don’t eat lunch :)

  8. Wish I lived close enough to have you drop in with samples … oh well …
    Guess I’ll just have to bake some myself. Thanks for sharing recipes.

  9. Denise in NJ says:

    In our family, everyone has a different holiday to host. Mine is Thanksgiving, and I think these will make a splendid addition.

  10. Wilma tyler Dibelka – And if you lived close by, believe me…I would drop in with samples!

    Denise in NJ – I was thinking the same thing. Ideal for Thanksgiving. Then there are the December holidays…

  11. Becky says:

    I’ve never looked forward to a blog post more then I do yours! I can’t wait to make these! Don’t ever stop!

  12. Gladys Gilbert says:

    I’m going to give these a try next.

    By the way, I love your page. Great directions for everything you write about. Recipes, cleaning windows and gardening. Forget Martha, I’m now a great fan of Kevin Lee Jacobs.

  13. badger gardener says:

    I love cranberry season! I practically buy up the grocery store’s entire supply while they are here. These bars will be a great addition to the Fall and holiday recipe line up. Hope you found some cranberries from Wisconsin. They are the best : )

  14. Brenda Johnson says:

    These are just wonderful Kevin! Tart, sweet, buttery…. moist and tender yet crunchy…..so many bright flavors! They really are a bite of sunshine!!!! Delicious!!! (and getting to see you is always a spot of sunshine in my day!) Thank you!!!!

  15. Lisa B says:

    I make a similar dish with fresh blueberries, and finished with a lemon glaze. It’s wonderful, I can’t wait to try your Cranberry-Orange bars!!! Thank you!

  16. Jennifer says:

    Will definitely give this a try and I even have the big blue bowl! :)

  17. Hey Kevin, have you ever tried this with oat or other non-wheat flour?

  18. Bobbie Floyd says:

    You are such a treasure, Kevin! I so look forward to your latest projects to see which ones I may be capable of doing, too. Thank you

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Kevin, are you world famous yet? Because you have the best blog on the web! I adore or recipes and gardening ideas.

  20. Carole says:

    Sounds and looks delicious. I’m not good at improvising, but sounds like you know your way around a kitchen. Do you see any way to cut down on the butter?

  21. Mary Lou Mayfield says:

    I love the cranberry orange flavor mix so will definitely be making these.

  22. Hmmm…how ’bout if we sub rhubarb for the cranberries ’til it gets to be cranberry weather? Might have to try that…

  23. Janice says:

    YUM!

  24. Dale says:

    I’m definitely going to try this recipe. Have you ever made it with cranberries sliced in half, Kevin? I only ask because once, when I was in a hurry, I made apple cranberry pie and used whole cranberries. The resulting filling was too tart for my family when they bit into the whole cranberries.
    As always, thanks for your wonderful blog. I’ve been spreading the word to my friends and through Pinterest postings.

  25. Teresa says:

    I’m sad.These look so yummy.But I can’t make them because I don’t have a big blue bowl.

  26. Cathy Gilmore says:

    Made these when our friends were over this past week. Zested the orange and then cut it open to juice it and it all dried up on the inside. The outside looked great when I purchased it. So, what to do for orange juice? I ended up using orange liquor and it worked beautifully!

  27. Kathy Gottlieb says:

    These look delicious!! My husband is diabetic and I am wondering if you have the nutritional information on these? Really that info would be great on any of your recipes – they all look and sound sooo tasty. Thanks. Kathy

  28. ceil says:

    I made these and they are delicious. Wish you could have seen me in a panic as I put the dough in the pan and realized I forgot to add the egg. I dumped it back in the bowl, added the egg and then voila! Love, love love your site and all the yummy recipes.

  29. Donna says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Do you know if you can freeze these bars?
    Thanks!

  30. Hi Donna – These never lasted long enough for me to freeze! But I suspect you could freeze the bars after baking them and letting them cool thoroughly.

  31. sandra kelly says:

    I made this dessert for Thanksgiving with my freshly harvested cranberries from Wisconsin. They were absolutely delicious!

  32. Sandra – So glad you tried — and liked — these sweet, tart treats!

  33. Roberta says:

    Thanks for having EXACTLY the recipe I was searching for…I have precisely 4 cups of fresh cranberries to use! I’m on my way to the kitchen :)

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