So, my sous chef (wife) and I were at Costco yesterday conducting some shopping, and we happened to take a stroll through the refrigerator section looking at fruits and vegetables. I happened to see a huge bag of cranberries (nearly 4 pounds), and at $4.99 for the entire bag it was a bargain. Here is to cooking/baking with ingredients that are in season.
I have never cooked with fresh cranberries, so I told my wife that I needed to start looking for some recipes. Based on the response I got last week from the Blueberry bars, I decided to go with a similar concept, so I did an internet search for Cranberry Bars. The recipe I went with was slightly different with the ingredients for the crust and the berry mixture. There is no fruit zest or juices.
8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) (225 grams) fresh cranberries
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup (70 grams) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cranberry Shortbread Bars: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the wire oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan.
Cranberry Filling: In a medium sized saucepan, place all the ingredients. Then, over medium-high heat, cook the ingredients until boiling. Continue to boil the filling until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the shortbread.
Shortbreads: In a separate bowl whisk the flour, cornstarch, and salt.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.
Evenly press two-thirds of the shortbread into the bottom of the prepared pan. Then evenly spread the cranberry filling over the shortbread base, leaving a 1/4 inch border.
With the remaining shortbread dough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling. Then lightly press the dough into the filling.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven, place on a wire rack, and while still hot, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool completely in pan.
I then cooled the pan in the refrigerator overnight, as this made it much easier to cut the bars the following morning.
Makes about 16 bars.