Wednesday, October 21, 2009

CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD BARS

This week, I have been trying out some new "goodie" recipes with the holidays in mind; I like to add a few new items to my standard cookie boxes every year. Today I made some cranberry shortbread bars that I found in a holiday issue of Fine Cooking and they are definitely going to make the "big list". The bars have an ultra-buttery shortbread crust topped with cooked cranberries and then a shortbread-type streusel topping. They are baked in a 9 x 13 pan that is lined with foil for easy removal. The bars are very sweet, buttery, tender and cut nicely...perfect for gift giving.

Wash and sort a 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries. Put them in a heavy saucepan with ¼ cup of water and one cup of white sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium high and boil until the sauce is like a thick syrup - 5 to 8 minutes (mine took 6 minutes). Set aside to cool (it will thicken even more as it cools).
SHORTBREAD CRUST
21 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled to room temp.
This seems like a lot of butter, but it makes an upper and lower crust
¾ cup of white sugar
2 large egg yolks
3 cups + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
No need to use an electric mixer, I did it all with a wooden spoon. Mix the sugar into the melted butter and whisk in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour to make a very stiff dough. Remove two cups of this dough and pat evenly into a foil lined 9 x 13 pan. Prick the dough all over with a fork and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or put in freezer for 7 minutes). Set the rest of the dough aside.
With the remaining dough, run a fork back and forth in the dough to loosen it up into crumbles Add ¼ cup of white sugar to these crumbles and work the fork back and for a little more to break up any large clumps. Do not chill these crumbles.
Bake the 9 x 13 chilled pan of dough, on the middle rack of your oven, for 20 minutes at 325. After 20 minutes, the dough will still be very pale in color and will not have any golden color on the edges. Remove it from the oven and spread the cooled cranberry filling evenly over it.
Spread the loose crumbles over the cranberry filling

Bake on the TOP rack of a 350 oven for 25 minutes (mine took 32 minutes). Watch the crumbles towards the end of the baking time. You want to see a little golden color on the top of the crumbles, like this:
Cool baked bars on a wire rack for at least an hour or until completely firm. You can speed set them in the fridge. When the bottom of the pan is completely cool, lift the bars out of the pan by pulling on the flap ends of the foil. Cut into 2" bars. These will keep at room temperature for a week.

NOTE: The butter measurement of 21 tablespoons is not a typing error
NOTE: Bake the bars in a metal 9 x 13 pan so they don't over bake. Line it with foil and leave the ends of the foil a little long, so you can use them as handles to lift the cooled bars out of the pan.
NOTE: Pay attention to baking temperatures. The first crust pre-bake is on the middle rack at 325. The final bake is on the TOP rack at 350. The recipe says it is baked on the top rack so that the bottom of the crust doesn't get too dark.

34 comments:

HoneyB said...

Coleen, the bars looks delish. I am definitely going to try these for the holidays!

I have a friend who did a dulce de leche experiment...her post is here: http://dishingwithdish.blogspot.com/2009/10/obsession-continues-slow-cooker-dulce.html

Donna-FFW said...

These will look so festive on your tray. Great color. Ill be checking back for answers to your dulce question too.

Cindy said...

Hi Coleen...I love your bars,definitly going to try..
The way i do my dulce de leche is on the stove top, i put a regular can of condensed milk inside of a pressure cooker cover with water and let it cook for an hour to an hour and half...

the domestic mama said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU! I have been searching for something like this for years! YAY! thank you!

Katy said...

Love the jewel colors of this! I have cranberries in the fridge looking for some loving. Visiting friends this week, so I think this would make a beautiful take-along! Thank you so much, Coleen.

Beautiful step by step pix. I know it takes forever to post them, but it's appreciated!

charlotte mgcc said...

Oh my this looks DELISH!
just in time for christmas baking....gasp.
i sent you an email about the thousand island dressing. hope you got it.

Debbie said...

Thanks for the simple recipe for Dulce de Leche..sounds like a great way to make this. The bars look wonderful and perfect for the holidays!

Jessie said...

Those cranberry bars looks so yummy!! Thanks for sharing!!!

GarlicBOSS said...

Coleen, this recipe sounds delicious. Short bread and cranberries are a perfect mix...thanks

Anncoo said...

This is fabulous!! Really makes me drooling...

Susie said...

YUMMY! I love the looks of those bars. Cranberry rocks!

HoneyB is right, check out Dishy's dulce de leche posts. She is the expert!

Chocolaty Lifestyle said...

This one's looking sooo yummy! I have baked similar bars several times, with jam, fruits or dulce de leche - they are always a hit! :)

About dulce de leche - I know this recipe works, but for me it's not the simpliest. The way I make it, which is the simpliest and cheapest way for me - I cook milk and sugar for above 1.5 hour. You don't have to stir it for the first hour, the milk won't burn. And then it will get thicker and thicker, cook it until it reaches the constituion you need. :)
I love this recipe so much, because you even don't have to buy condensed milk but just a regular milk!

Ingrid said...

I love cranberry. Last year I used it for the first time in a dessert and loved its tanginess with the sweet.

I've not made homemade dulce de leche but have seen several posts. Good luck and I'll be back to check out what you found out.
~ingrid

Sonya said...

I'm making it right now. Im simmering the can in water for 3 hours.

Barbara Bakes said...

Your cranberry bars sound delicious, perfect for my holiday platter. Do you think they'd freeze?

teresa said...

oh my goodness, those cookies look SO good, i may have to add them to my cookie plate list too! the color is gorgeous.

Juliana said...

Oh! Your shortbread bars look so yummie, like the combination of shortbread and the fruity flavor of cranberries...
In regards to doce de leite, in Brazil we used to cook in a pressure cooker.

Krista said...

These look wonderful! I can just imagine how good they taste! Anyone would be lucky to get these on their holiday goodie tray.

Mary said...

Your bars look luscious. That is one way of making dulce de leche.

Shelly W said...

I'll try anything with a crumb topping, so I'd be all over these. They look awesome! I've never made or cooked with dulce de leche, so I'll be looking for your response on it.

Wandering Coyote said...

I think I have heard of that method of making dulce de leche. I've also seen a stove-top method, too, where you cook the milk in a saucepan of boiling water.

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

These bars are so perfect for the holidays! I love them with the cranberry filling!

Kim said...

These bars are so pretty and will be perfect for Christmas!

Laura said...

Oh those do look like winners! Beautiful indeed. I don't know of that method but I have heard of cooking a can o s.c. milk in the crock pot over night. I think you should try it and let us know :)

Sonya said...

Coleen I simmered mine for a few hours lastnight to make the Dulce de Leche and it came out thick and beautiful and soooooo good.

Mommy Gourmet said...

These look AMAZING! As for the dulce de leche...I think it might work. Our neighbor is from Uruguay and he puts a can in a pot of water and brings to a very low simmer and cooks it for hours. I think it the same concept maybe speeded up???

Nat said...

If there was a beauty contest for cookies, these would walk away as beauty queens : ) ...So pretty and I bet they tasted every bit as gorgeous as they look.

Monica H said...

These are so pretty. I love the contrast in colors. great for the holidays.

dulce de leche- I make mine by boiling it in a pot of water for 3 hours. Not hard but you have to keep the water above the level of the can. I just made some!

Anonymous said...

Made them tonite. They are sooo good. I might add a little bit of homemade whipped cream or even a little dusting of powdered sugar. I love shortbread and cranberries, and this is perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

does this really require 21 tablespoons??!! or was that a typo?

Anonymous said...

how many tablespoons is it suppose to be?

Coleen's Recipes said...

It has been a year since I made these, so I went back and double checked. The recipe is correct as published. It does take 21 tablespoons melted butter which seems like a lot but it makes a double crust.

Scotkat said...

Just away to add the cranberries and pop pack in oven .

This recipe may also be nice with sliced apples and rhubarb.

Scotkat said...

Excellent added to favourites