Cranberry Butter Bars

My sweet friend, Shellie, posted the above picture to Instagram and Facebook shortly after I delivered them to her home yesterday. Apparently trading baked goods for some free childcare is an acceptable transaction. Gotta love the warm fuzzies you get from blessing people with carbs and homemade goodness. It’s safe to say I know what she’s getting for her 26th birthday next year ūüôā

These have been a staple¬†in our home for the past several years during the holiday season. Chris discovered them while we were living with my super-awesome parents while I was pregnant with our daughter waiting to move into our first house. We’ve adapted them somewhat over the years but generally the recipe is no-fail no matter what you do. They’re the perfect mix of tart and sweet and usually don’t last more than 24 hours in our home. Or if you’re like some of my sweet friends who I brought some to yesterday as ¬†“thank you” for being awesome, they may last a few minutes.

Below is the recipe from the website. It’s for a 9×9 pan, and we always use a 9×13 to satisfy the sweet tooth of those around us in our home. Some ingredient modifications need made and I’ll note those in parentheses next to the ingredients.

Cranberry Filling:
8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) (225 grams) fresh cranberries
2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar
3 tablespoons water

Shortbread Bars:
2 cups (270 grams) all-purposeflour (2 3/4 c)
2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch (cornflour) (3 T)
1/4 teaspoon salt (1/2t)
1 cup (226 grams) unsaltedbutter, room temperature (1 c plus 5 Tbs)
1/3 cup (70 grams) light brownsugar (3/4 c)
1 teaspoon purevanillaextract (1 T)

Cranberry Shortbread Bars: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the wire oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stickcookingspray) a9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan. 
Cranberry Filling:In a medium sized saucepan, place all the ingredients. Then, over medium-high heat, cook the ingredients until boiling. Continue to boil the filling until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the shortbread.
Shortbreads: In a separate bowl whisk theflour, cornstarch, and salt. 
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. 
Evenly press two-thirds of the shortbread into the bottom of the prepared pan. Then evenly spread the cranberry filling over the shortbread base, leaving a 1/4 inch border.
With the remaining shortbreaddough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling. Then lightly press the dough into the filling. 
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven, place on a wire rack, and while still hot, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Our oven cooks a little high and we’ve found moving the¬†temperature on all ovens to 350 is best. Watch them closely starting at about 20 minutes. We take ours out a few minutes early because we like them a little softer. I took a minute or two yesterday when I baked them to broil the top to evenly brown them out and then ¬†brightened them up with a sifting of powdered sugar once cut and cooled. Cutting the bars while hot in the pan is difficult. It’s easiest to wait until they’ve cooled and use a small metal spatula to remove them. You can help get them out by making sure you don’t spread the cranberry sauce all the way to the sides and seriously coating your baking dish with butter or cooking spray and then a dusting of flour all around.

Enjoy!

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