Friday, November 6, 2009

Cranberry Season is Here

As soon as I see fresh cranberries in the fall, I can’t wait to start baking. Because they are easy to freeze, you can bake with them year round but they always seem a herald of autumn. I always buy several bags to freeze so I have cranberries when they are no longer available fresh. I also make Cranberry Chutney to serve with poultry and pork.

Cranberry Walnut Bars

These cranberry jewels are easy to make because the crust is pressed into the pan. Don’t forget the Crème Fraiche.

Makes 15 squares or 24 bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
Crème Fraiche

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and place the oven rack in the center. Place a piece of aluminum foil across the bottom and up the long sides of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Lightly spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the flour, powdered and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form and butter is coated with flour. Press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until the crust is slightly browned.

Combine the brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add corn syrup, eggs and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Stir in the butter, cranberries and walnuts. Pour into the browned crust. Gently even out the surface to distribute the cranberries and walnuts.

Bake 38 to 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean in the center. It will be wet. Center will no longer jiggle when the pan is shaken. Cool to room temperature on a wire cooling rack. Carefully loosen the bars from the short end of the pan. Gently lift bars from the pan using the foil. Cut into squares or bars. Serve with crème fraiche. Be sure there is no foil on the bars.

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