Ever since I made cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking about how to use those same flavors in a dessert. Tremendously sour in their raw state, cranberries reveal a wonderfully complex flavor when combined with a little sweet…and booze. Don’t forget the booze.
And I’m betting that you may have a leftover bag of cranberries in your fridge. What a coincidence! Me too. This is what I did with my pretty red berries.
Cranberry Walnut Crumb Bars
- One 12-oz bag of fresh cranberries, picked over
- 1/4 cup marmalade
- 2 tablespoons Cognac
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves
- pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- pinch of kosher salt
CRUST & CRUMBS
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the bottom of a 9 X 9 pan with parchment or aluminum foil that hangs over the side and then butter the parchment or aluminum foil.
FILLING: Bring all the filling ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until almost all of the cranberries have burst, about 7 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a bowl to cool to room temperature while you make the crust and crumbs.
CRUST & CRUMBS: Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Mix together. Add the cubes of butter and process until crumbly, about 3-4 minutes. Then add the vanilla. Mix another minute until it is completely incorporated. This makes about 4 cups of dough.
Press 2 cups of dough into the bottom of the lined pan. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to pat it down gently.
Mix the chopped toasted walnuts into the remaining dough. Use your fingers to work this extra dough until it clumps together.
Spread the cranberries over the bottom crust. Scatter the crumbs over the cranberries.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crumbs are very light brown. Let the bars cool for 20 minutes in the pan. Use the lining to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a rack to cool to room temperature. The bars will be soft when warm, but will firm up when cool.
These are not for the faint of tart (hee hee). They are quite wonderfully sour and sweet at the same time. But I can’t help but wonder what a little chocolate would do. Hmmm. Let’s see.
Oh yeah baby!