This weekend we decided to lay low at home which meant a lot of baking time for me. The flu is going around pretty hardcore this year and since Brandon hasn’t been feeling great we opted to stay home and relax. On Saturday I took the dogs for a 2-mile walk around our neighborhood and through the hiking trails then spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen. I made an apple fritter loaf for the week ahead and decided to use up the last of my cranberries on these cranberry bars.
I used fresh cranberries I had on hand because I had originally planned to make cranberry muffins this week. When I ended up making the spiced sweet potato loaf and the apple fritter loaf I realized I had enough breakfast breads so I chose to make this dessert instead. If you don’t have fresh cranberries on hand you can substitute frozen cranberries, just thaw them first.
These cranberry bars are buttery and crumbly, just the way I like them. I love to serve them warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream so if you’re looking for an extra tasty way to serve them I highly recommend trying that out. 😉
If I’m not serving them with a scoop of ice cream I’ll give them a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar. I made a confectioner’s sugar glaze for them once but it was way too sweet for me so instead I just sprinkle a light dusting on top and serve them on a platter. They really don’t need much more than that.
As other alternatives, if you want to get creative, you can mix chunks of dark chocolate (chunks of a bar, not chocolate chips), orange zest, or nuts into the batter before baking. It really just depends on what kind of dessert you’re looking for. This recipe is a simple cranberry bar recipe you can use as a base then customize them however you’d like with additions.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 9 pan and set aside.
- Using a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. If you're using orange zest (see notes below) add at this time.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract until well-mixed.
- Add flour and baking powder, then mix until just combined.
- Fold in cranberries (and any other additives like dark chocolate chunks, nuts, etc. as noted below).
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and gently press down. The dough is sticky so it's best to grease your hands or the spoon before using to press down the dough.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool completely then dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.
- Alternatives to this recipe include adding orange zest for orange-cranberry bars, chunks of dark chocolate for chocolate cranberry bars or your favorite nuts for nutty cranberry bars. This recipe is easily adapted to your favorite extras.
- As an alternative serving, serve topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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