These cranberry bars are not necessarily quick, but they’re mixed right in the pan, so they’re so easy, and they’re DELICIOUS!
Do you love cranberries or hate them? I find that, at least as far as fresh cranberries are concerned, most people fall into one camp or the other…not in-between. I make homemade cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving, and my mom and I are the only people that eat it. I make it anyway, though, because Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce and plenty of leftovers to put on turkey sandwiches. Come to think of it, that’s really the only reason I care about turkey at Thanksgiving – post Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches.
I blame canned cranberry sauce for the intense hatred that most people have for cranberries. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t help but wonder if most people’s experiences with that can-shaped maroon jelly cylinder might be responsible. More Jell-O like than cranberry-like, canned cranberry sauce doesn’t offer much in the way of texture (though I’ll admit that I’ll eat it if there’s no other cranberry sauce available). It can’t compare to fresh cranberry sauce, to be certain.
Around Thanksgiving I start throwing bags of cranberries into my cart every week at the grocery store, since it’s basically impossible to find cranberries any other time of year (I know frozen ones exist, but I’ve never seen them). I always have a few bags in my freezer, and this year I decided that those frozen cranberries needed to find their way into an easy dessert.
Enter mix-in-the-pan cranberry bars. Full of oats, pecans, and butter, these cranberry bars (adapted from One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti) boast a homemade cranberry-apple sauce and a delicious streusel that doesn’t require any extra work. I’m not promising that they’re quick, because cooking the cranberries – while simple – takes a little time. I will promise, however, that you’ll only dirty the baking pan and a saucepan, and that counts for something, right? Plus, they’re so easy, delicious, chewy, and just a little crumbly.
You won’t regret these mix-in-the-pan cranberry bars!
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Yield: 16 bars
This recipe is adapted from the book One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti.
15 minPrep Time:
50 minCook Time:
1 hr, 5 Total Time:
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 small apples, diced
- 1 bag cranberries
- zest of 1 orange
- juice of 1 orange plus enough water to make 1 cup
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour (I subbed whole wheat flour for 1/2 cup of the white flour)
- 1 cup (3 ounces) rolled oats
- 1 cup (3.5 ounces) chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium saucepan, melt 12 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Pour into an 8x8 inch square pan and set aside.
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the saucepan over medium heat. Add the apples and cook, stirring from time to time, for about five minutes. Add the cranberries, orange juice and water, and 3/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, until all the cranberries have burst and the sauce begins to thicken.
- While the sauce cooks, stir the remaining ingredients together in the pan with the butter until completely moistened. Remove one cup of the crumb mixture and press the remaining mixture firmly into the pan. Top with 1 1/2 cups of the cranberry sauce, reserving the rest for another use. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top of the cranberry sauce.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, then cut into 16 pieces and serve.
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