Well tickle me pink, these crumb bars are beauts. They taste like pie, but in cookie form. Perfectly balanced tart berry and buttery crumb. I don’t know why I didn’t eat these bars with vanilla ice cream heaping over the top. I did, however, manage to eat every last crumb that happened to “fall off” the top of the cookies. Good heavens!
I finally found an excuse to do something with the half-full quart container of cranberries that I had been keeping in my freezer for a year. The cranberries held up in perfect condition throughout their year in stasis, and now they’ve had the chance to shine (I tend to put things in my freezer and forget about them until a year later…not the smartest thing to do…but these cookie bars were just a sweet treat to eat at home so the only harm done would be done to me…and I gladly took the risk for these buttery babies!).
To get a nice, clean cut, it is best to refrigerate the cookie bars for an hour or a few hours and cut them when they are cold. I got too greedy and went right in for the bars when they were still slightly warm and at my disposal. Sigh…I think I need some company to keep my self-control in check.
In other news, I’m totally Smitten with the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I feel like almost half of the recipes on my blog are “adapted from” Deb Perelman’s beautiful blog, and now I get to cook my way through her beautiful book. Three cheers for Deb!
Smitten Kitchen’s Cranberry Crumb Bars
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
makes an 8×8 inch pan of bars
1 stick of butter, cubed and chilled
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and butter the sides and the parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices. Work the chilled butter and egg into the flour mixture until it resembles a course meal. You can use your hands (my preferred method), a fork, or a pastry blender. Pat half of the crumb base into the bottom of your prepared pan. It will be thin.
In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, briefly pulse the filling ingredients until the berries are coarsely chopped but not pureed. Spread the filling over the crumb base. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the cranberry mixture.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares. It helps to refrigerate the bars once cool and then cut them when cold.