Twelve Days of Baking: Christmas Cranberry Apple Bars
Bar cookies can make holiday baking easy. That is why I include several kinds each year in my baking lineup. For this recipe the combination of fresh cranberries and apples cooked in apple cider results in beautiful ruby red filling that is not too sweet. Once baked and cut into bars, they can be frozen but I guarantee that once you taste them, you will have to make a second batch if you want to save them! Here is the recipe.
Christmas Cranberry Apple Bars
One bag (12 ounces) fresh cranberries, rinsed
2 large Cortland or Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup apple cider
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a fork
11/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
½ cup unsalted butter, in bits
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
In a 2 quart saucepan combine all the filling ingredients except the egg. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens to the consistency of cranberry sauce. Remove and transfer the filling to a bowl. Cool slightly then stir in the egg. Set aside while you make the crust.
For the topping:
In a bowl combine the flour, butter and sugar until crumbly. Stir in the nuts. Set aside.
1 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into bits
Grated zest one orange
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
For the crust:
In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour,sugar, salt together. Blend in butter with a fork or pastry blender until crumbly. Add the zest and orange juice. Combine and then press the mixture with your fingers into the bottom of a foil lined and lightly greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
Bake the crust in a pre-heated 350F oven for 12-15 mintues or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
Spread the filling evenly over the crust then sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool. When cool use a wide face spatula to lift the foil out of the pan. Cut the bars into 2 ½ inch pieces.