Cranberry Cookie Bars
I’ve got one more cranberry recipe for you guys to consider for the holidays. I realize you probably already have your menus planned, but this recipe is unique in that it was created to use up leftover cranberry sauce after your big holiday meal.
I didn’t have any leftover cranberry sauce on hand, so I whipped up a batch using this recipe. These Cranberry Cookie Bars are similar to the Cranberry Turtle Bars that I made a couple weeks ago. In the previous recipe, the caramel didn’t shine through with the competing flavors of cranberry and chocolate. But in the recipe today, the caramel really shines. I used blanched almonds so they wouldn’t interfere in the flavor department either.
Cranberry Cookie Bars – as seen on Use Real Butter, originally from CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life – makes 24 bars
For the Crust:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
For the Topping:
1 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (I assumed light brown sugar)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups cranberry sauce or 1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups toasted nuts of your choice (I used almonds)
To make the Crust: Preheat oven to 375. Line a 9×13 pan with foil and grease the foil.
Beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms.
Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the baking pan and be sure to press the edges 1/2 inch up the sides of the pan. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.
To make the Topping: Reduce oven to 325.
In a medium saucepan, combine corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla over medium heat until mixture has melted and formed a thick syrup. Continue stirring over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges, but not boiling. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Whisk in the beaten eggs, stirring vigorously. Set aside.
Spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the top of the baked and cooled crust (or sprinkle the dried cranberries evenly over the crust).
Scatter the nuts over the cranberries.
Pour the liquid sugar mixture over everything. If it’s thick (mine wasn’t thick) then try to get even coverage over the entire pan. Use a spatula to spread it, but take care not to disrupt the crust layer.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until the filling is lightly bubbling on the sides and looks firm in the middle. Cool completely before cutting as the filling will firm up as the bars cool.