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.

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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