Tag Archives: cranberries

Cranberry Cake Bars

Cranberries are everywhere during this time of year. I’m always so happy to see the first fresh ones popping up in the grocery stores and farmers markets right before Thanksgiving and so sad to see them going away shortly after Christmastime. So during that period I tend to perhaps overdo it a bit on the cranberries. Muffins, bread, salad, pork loin, you name it, it will probably get some cranberries thrown in there somewhere.

This recipe is so easy and doesn’t have any weird ingredients, or very many ingredients at all, in fact. I love it because the bars are just slightly sweet, more of a shortbread sort of taste, and then you get a burst of tangy cranberry in every bite, and it is just heavenly. I’ve made these at least four times so far this season and every time I make them I wish there were more. With so many overly sweet and rich desserts during the holidays these were a refreshing change. We even ate them for breakfast.

I don’t know about you, but a couple of bags of berries will be finding their way into my freezer so I can be enjoying these long after cranberry season is over.

Cranberry Cake Bars

Cranberry Cake Bars

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
12 oz fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until slightly thickened and light in color, about 5-7 minutes. The mixture should almost double in size. The eggs work as your leavening agent in this recipe, so do not skip this step. This mixture should form a ribbon when you lift the beaters out of the bowl. Add the butter and vanilla; mix two more minutes. Stir in the flour until just combined. Fold in cranberries.

Spread in a buttered 9×13 pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until very lightly browned and a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting into small squares.

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Cranberry Bliss Creme

Cranberries always make me think of Christmas, because that’s usually when I cook with them.  I have a lovely cranberry chocolate chip bread that is one of my seasonal favorites.  But that post is for another day.  Fresh cranberries are actually available all winter and you can get frozen ones year round (which could easily be substituted in this recipe). I love those tangy little things so I’m trying to take advantage of them a little more often.

This recipe was actually called Cranberry Curd, but whenever I hear the word “curd” my gag reflex immediately reacts.  Not a big fan of curds of any kind.  They make me think of things that are sour and gross.  Which admittedly, is not always the case.  But seriously, I never even knew what a curd was in this context.  I’ve heard of lemon curd but I always avoided it, picturing some cottage cheese-infested lemony concoction.  I was wrong.  A curd is simply a creamy fruit spread made with eggs.  It can be used in place of jam, on toast, on yogurt, for filling in cake…you get the idea.  It was sweet, tangy and wonderful!

Just use instead of jam. I especially liked it on sourdough.  Yum!

Just use instead of jam. I especially liked it on sourdough. Yum!

I made up a bunch of this during the holidays.  It was the perfect item to finish off a gift basket, present to a hostess, or offer as a token gift or thank you.  And we managed to keep and eat quite a bit of it ourselves.  I loved it on toast, but my favorite way to eat it was swirled into greek yogurt.

This is how most of mine ended up.  Swirled into thick plain or honey greek yogurt. Delicious and healthy too!

This is how most of mine ended up. Swirled into thick plain or honey greek yogurt. Delicious and healthy too!

I packaged it in small jam jars, which were great to put in the freezer and take out as needed.  The only drawback to this particular item is that it doesn’t last long!  With an expiration date of 2 weeks or so, you can’t stash it in the fridge and forget about it.  So cook some, and eat up!

Jars of Bliss to give out.  And a few to keep for myself.

Jars of Bliss to give out. And a few to keep for myself.

Cranberry Bliss Creme
(from Cooking Light.  Recipe makes about 2 1/2 cups, but can be easily doubled.  Allow a little extra time for the curd to thicken)

1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 (12 oz) package of fresh cranberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg yoks
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. Grand Marnier (optional)

Combine water, lemon juice and cranberries in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until cranberries pop.  Place cranberry mixture in a blender or food processor.  Process until smooth.  Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl and discard solids.

Combine sugars and butter in a bowl.  Beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined.  Add egg yolks and egg, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in cranberry mixture, cornstarch, and salt.  Place mixture in the top of a double boiler.  Cook over simmering water until a thermometer registers 160˚ and mixture thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently.  Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in liqueur.  Cover and refrigerate.  Use within 2 weeks.

Perfect paired with something savory like Individual Mushroom Quiche.

Perfect paired with something savory like Individual Mushroom & Feta Quiche.

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Cranberry Bliss Bars

The holidays are over, my waistline is a tiny bit bigger and now that I’m watching what I eat again I thought I would wistfully post about the wonderful goodies I made for Christmas.  Luckily, there are always occasions where you need a little treat, so I’m sure these will appear sometime again before next Christmas.

I love the Cranberry Bliss Bars at Starbucks.  They are only found around this time of year so I was thrilled to spot a recipe for them on Pinterest so I can make them whenever the mood strikes.  While these are not exactly the same, I thought they were quite similar and every bit as wonderful.  Maybe a little fluffier, less dense in the bar part, but I liked it.  Crystallized ginger was an odd ingredient that I hadn’t used before.  You may find it with the dried fruits (at my store it was in the natural foods section).  I took these to two parties and they were a huge hit.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars
( from Your Home Based Mom – http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup minced dried cranberries
1/4 cup quality white chocolate (I used Baker’s, 1-2 squares chopped up)
1/4 cup minced candied (or crystallized) ginger

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange rind

1/4 cup minced dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.  Beat together butter and brown sugar, then add eggs and vanilla.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add flour, powdered ginger and salt.  Beat well.  Fold in the cranberries, white chocolate, and candied ginger.  Spread batter in pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Cranberry Bliss Bars - bottom layer

Cranberry Bliss Bars – bottom layer

After cake cools, mix all frosting ingredients (except cranberries) and spread over the top of cake.  Sprinkle with cranberries.  Cut into squares or triangles.


Cranberry Bliss Bars, all ready to slice up into fancy triangles.

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