Thanksgiving Dessert: Cranberry Bars with Ginger & Orange

Cranberry BarsGrowing up, my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner was always the cranberry sauce. To be clear, we’re not talking healthy or homemade, but good, store-bought, from a can cranberry sauce. You know, the kind that is mostly sugar and takes the shape of the container when you plop it into a bowl? Yep. That one. Left to my own devices, I could (and sometimes did) consume a whole can of the gelatinous, tangy mass. Delicious!

Thankfully, over the years my tastes (and sugar tolerance) have evolved And while I still love the refreshing tartness of cranberry, I choose to get my fix from slightly more refined (less sugary) sources. That said, I’m super excited to bring these Ginger Cranberry bars to Thanksgiving dinner this year. The buttery, shortbread crust is just the right amount of sweet, and while you can certainly choose to omit the ginger, I love the spice it adds to the cranberry filling. 


Cranberry barsIngredients
Cranberry Filling
2 1/3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon orange zest

Shortbread Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x9in baking pan.
2. In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the cranberries, sugar, juice, orange zest and grated ginger. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Cook until mixture becomes thick and syrupy (about 5-7 min). Remove and let cool while you prepare the crust.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt.
4. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream together the brown sugar, butter, and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the flour mixture until well mixed (will be crumbly, like sand).
5. Press about 1/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. It works well to use the floured bottom of a measuring cup to even everything out and press into the corners of the pan.
6. Then pour the cranberry filling and spread evenly on top of the crust, leaving  a small border around the edges. Finally, use your fingers to crumble the remaining dough mixture on top of the cranberry filling.
7. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top crust starts to brown. Let cool for ten to fifteen minutes before cutting into squares. Recipe makes approximately 16 bars.

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?

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3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Dessert: Cranberry Bars with Ginger & Orange

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