As we move into Thanksgiving and Christmas, I've begun gathering ideas and recipes for holiday baking. So as I work my way through the never-ending pile of recipes I've amassed, I'll share the clear winners with you. Sound good?
These bars? Already clear winners. Cranberries are one of my favorite winter fruits, and I can't ever resist a dessert that features these beauties. The cranberries are paired with a buttery, chewy, spiced cookie crust, and the combination is truly outstanding. I loved the extra texture that the oats gave the crust, and the addition of brown sugar and cinnamon gave it a nice sweet warmth that perfectly complemented the sweet-tart cranberries.
And hey - these have fruit, eggs, and oats in them… that automatically qualifies them as a healthy breakfast food, right? I think so.
barely adapted from ATK's Best Ever Christmas Cookies
makes 24 bars
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 16 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional, I omitted)
In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries, water, and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the juice is starting to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with foil, allowing it to hang over on 2 sides (to form a sling). Lightly grease with cooking spray or butter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until combined. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour/oat mixture, mixing until it is just combined.
Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the prepared pan, and press into an even layer. The dough is pretty sticky, so use a piece of plastic wrap to help you. Spread the cranberry mixture in an even layer over the dough, then drop walnut-sized pieces of the remaining dough over the cranberries.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown, rotating the pan halfway through.
Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours. Use the foil overhangs to lift the bars out of the pan and cut into 24 equal pieces. Serve.