Tuesday, January 20, 2015

CRANBERRY CRUMBLE BARS


I found a half case of canned cranberry sauce in the pantry.  Funny thing with those cans, once Thanksgiving is over they tend to linger, unloved and untouched.





I'm not a hoarder. I'm not stocking up in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  I had an assignment late last year that required a boatload but, apparently, not a full caseload of the stuff.  Don't judge.



Staring at those forsaken little cans, I realized that there must be thousands of lonely Ocean Sprays sauces waiting to be noticed.  I resolved that it would be my mission to bring those little tin encased jelly jewels out of the pantry and back into our lives.

I'd make something simple!  Delicious!  Crumbly!

I give you....

CRANBERRY CRUMBLE BARS


For the shortbread

I've been told that many bakers have trouble with shortbread, especially the classic recipe that requires only flour, butter and sugar.  I've come up with a fix that makes the process pretty foolproof:  I grate cold butter into the flour.  This does two crucial things:  keeps the butter cold and gets the butter bits small without heating it up.  This way, you get that wonderful buttery/sandy texture and not a tough cookie.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, cold (I put it in the freezer for 10 minutes before grating)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Line a 9" x 13" baking pan with parchment so that the parchment hangs over the sides of the pan.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.  Whisk for 30 seconds.  Using the largest holes in a box grater, grate the cold butter onto the flour mixture.


Using your fingers, massage the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles cornmeal and holds together when you squeeze it between your fingers.


Dump the shortbread into the prepared pan and press the dough into an even layer into the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes and remove from the oven.  Leave the oven on.

For the filling

2 (14 ounce) cans Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Puree both cans in a food processor or smash the jelly with a fork in a large bowl to break down the jelly into a spreadable consistency.


Spread the cranberry sauce onto the shortbread in an even layer.

For the crumble

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, the flour and the salt.  Pour the butter over the flour mixture and stir with a spoon to incorporate the butter.  You'll likely have to switch to using your fingers to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the mixture forms large clumps.


Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the cranberry layer.  Some people like a LOT of crumble.  If that's you, use the entire batch.  Otherwise, you can freeze any remaining crumble that you don't use for up to a month and have it on hand if you need to make a last minute apple crumble or want to save it to sprinkle on muffins, etc.

Bake for 30-40 minutes more or until the crumble starts to evenly brown.

Allow to cool completely and then lift the one large bar from the baking pan using the overhanging parchment.  Cut into squares.  Keep in an airtight container up to a week.