Friday, January 29, 2010

edible exploits: cranberry crumb bars

In an attempt to try and use up some of the produce I've been hoarding in my itty-bitty freezer, I came upon some beautiful cranberries I'd stowed away back in October. One of the great perks of living in New England - other than being able to enjoy the vibrant autumn leaves, of course - is access to fresh, local cranberries that grow in bogs right in our "backyard" and all around the surrounding towns.

These particular cranberries came from a friend of my father's, who owns several local bogs. My Dad was kind enough to share his berry bounty with me, and they have been patiently waiting in my freezer (where they can stay for up to a year), for the perfect recipe to come along.

These cranberries were extra special to me and as such, deserved to be savored in a really great recipe. But which one? Cranberry sauce? Bor-ring! Not to mention, so predictable. Cranberry bread? Yawn. Cranberry cookies? Meh. Nothing seemed to inspire me enough to want to use my precious rouge beauties.

When I came across Tiina's cranberry crumb bars, I was intrigued. And now that I've made them, I know I held out for the right recipe. Sweet, tart and crumbly, these bars are like a fruit crumble to go. Great with a cup of tea, or perhaps as a juicy midnight snack (not that I would know *ahem*), these crumb bars are a major win. And they're Dad-approved :-)

Cranberry Crumb Bars

{Recipe from Sparkling Ink, November 2009}

Prep Time: about 20 minutes
Total Time: about an hour
Makes: ~18 bars


For dough-

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, chilled
  • 1 egg

For berry layer-

  • 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

::If you're using local berries like I am -even if they're right out of the freezer- make sure to give them a good rinse, and pick over them for leaves, twigs and damaged berries. Other berries or fruit also work with this recipe so, if cranberries are out of reach, use whats available to you.::

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and baking powder. Cut the chilled butter into cubes and work it into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Add in the egg, and mix until combined. Divide the mixture in half, and press one half into a deep greased baking dish. [Tiina recommends a 9x13" but, I used a 10x10" which also worked worked well and produced a thicker bar.] Set the rest of the dough mixture aside.

2. In another large bowl, toss the cranberries with the sugar and corn starch. Spread the berry mixture evenly over the pressed-in dough (and sprinkle any remaining sugar/corn starch evenly over the berries). Crumble the second half of dough mixture over the berry layer.

3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. To prevent the top from browning too much and to ensure the bottom layer bakes properly, move the dish from the middle level to the lowest level in the oven after 30 minutes of baking. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Now I'm off to New York City for a long weekend of eating, drinking and merriment -- I hope yours is equally fun! See you next week. x


  1. OMG I want to make these!!!!! They look so yummy and I totally wouldn't have to share them b/c Griff doesn't eat cranberry! Score!!!

  2. they're soooo good -- Griff's loss!