Cranberry, Ginger, Orange, Cream Cheese Crumb Bars

Do you guys have your Thanksgiving plans/menus all figured out? This year, Hubby and I are celebrating with his family. When we moved in together back in 2003, I laid out a holiday rotation plan for us. It’s worked well since then because everyone knows where we’ll be so there’s no family drama. We rotate for Thanksgiving and Christmas on a three year rotation.

One year in Connecticut with his family, one year in Illinois with my family, and on the third year we don’t travel. Anyone is welcome to join us wherever we’re living at the time, but we’re not leaving our home.

I wanted to get this routine going up front so that some day when we have kids, they’ll wake up in their own bed on Christmas every couple of years. Growing up, we were always at my grandmothers and my siblings and I always wondered how Santa knew where we were to bring our gifts.

The plan has served us well and I’m looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home this year with just me and Hubby. Since we’re spending the week of Thanksgiving with his family, I’ll be heavily involved with putting the meal together and all the prep work leading up to the big day. But Hubby’s mom is really taking the lead on this.

The good thing about having adult siblings is that everyone brings something, so really Hubby’s mom doesn’t have a whole lot of work to do. There will already be an apple and pumpkin pie at the table and I’m in charge of another dessert. So I’ve been trying out a couple recipes to see what I want to go with. As of today, these bars are in the lead.

They have a burst of tartness that only cranberries can provide. The orange and ginger provide sweetness and spiciness that round out the flavors. And the cream cheese layer gives a great creamy texture. These bars will make a great addition to any holiday spread.

One Year Ago: Sour Cream Coffeecake Bundt and Cranberry Turtle Bars
Two Years Ago: Caramelized Butternut Squash and Spicy Butternut Squash, Goat Cheese and Lentil Salad
Three Years Ago: Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars and Apple Cranberry Cake-Pie
Four Years Ago: Two Pies in One Pie Pan Experiment Results and Pie Crust

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Cranberry, Ginger, Orange, Cream Cheese Crumb Bars


For the Crust
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 sticks butter (12 Tbsp), softened

For the Cranberry Layer
2 cups cranberries
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
zest from one orange
1 Tbsp corn starch

For the Cream Cheese Layer
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/3 cup crystallized ginger, chopped


For the Crust
Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a 8x8 pan with foil and grease.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, and walnuts. Stir until completely mixed.

Add vanilla and butter. Use a pastry cutter or fork until the mixture is crumbly.

Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan.

For the Cranberry Layer
Mix together all the ingredients for the cranberry layer and spread evenly on top of the crust.

For the Cream Cheese Layer
In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, flour, vanilla, salt, and egg. Stir until smooth. There might be a few clumps from the cream cheese. That is ok.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cranberries with a spatula.

Sprinkle the crystallized ginger over the cream cheese layer.

Spread remaining crumble over the top of the ginger.

Bake for 35 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe inspired by Yammie's Noshery

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14 Responses to “Pecan Pie Brownies”

  1. #
    Blog is the New black — December 3, 2012 at 8:17 am

    Looks tasty!

  2. #
    Jessica Steele — December 3, 2012 at 11:35 am

    These look like heaven!!!

  3. #
    Shannon G — December 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    way to kick pecan pie up a notch! fabulous 🙂

  4. #
    Mal — December 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    These look absolutely amazing, I can never resist pecan pie

    Mal @ The Chic Geek

  5. #
    Megan — December 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I actually did make chocolate pecan pie for Thanksgiving… and quite a boozy one too! I think these pecan pie brownies would have gone over well. I’ll keep them in mind for next year!

    • beantownbaker — December 4th, 2012 @ 10:08 am

      Boozy definitely means better in my mind!

  6. #
    Sarah C — December 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    These are in the oven now. I can’t wait to try them! Confession – I don’t think I can wait for them to cool overnight before I have a taste.

    • beantownbaker — December 30th, 2012 @ 11:30 am

      Hope you liked them!

  7. #
    Kelsey — December 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    What a great recipe, Jen!

  8. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — December 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Holy yum!

  9. #
    Kelly Anne — December 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Nice recipe. I love a simple brownie recipe which is easy for the kids 🙂
    I also like the below brownie recipe.
    Thanks for sharing,

  10. #
    ashanti kimble — June 17, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    those hing look so good before i even try to cook them so awesome baby who ever invented those you are awesome so so good mmmmmmmm………..

  11. #
    Janessa J — November 26, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I found that baking the brownies for only 10 minutes before adding the rest was not long enough. The pecan pie topping fell right into the brownie batter and 55 minutes later,and what is left on the top is hard as a rock and the brownie still gooey and a little runny. I won’t be able to cut into squares but it still tastes good so I will chop it all together and we can eat with it a spoon and some ice cream.

    • beantownbaker — December 1st, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

      Bummer that they didn’t bake all the way through for you. Although underbaked brownies are one of my favorite desserts ever! Glad you still enjoyed them.

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