One of the things that has been taking a lot of my time has been the yearly -- obsessive -- search for new and different recipes for holiday occasions and gift giving. I might compare a dozen or two recipes for a single dish, trying to decide which one sounds like The One. And that's just for one item. You would not believe the number of various and assorted cranberry recipes I've been scanning, drooling and slobbering as I go.
Like, for instance, the one I found at the Joy of Baking web site. It turns out to be easy to put together and utterly delicious when done. This one's a keeper, Coffee Mates.
9" X 9" baking pan, buttered -- preheat oven to 375 degrees fairy height
For the filling: In medium-sized sauce pan, put:
2 1/4 cups (8 ounces or 225 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries
2/3 cup (130 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons water
On medium-high heat, bring to a boil and continue boiling until mixture is thick and syrupy. This will take about 5 or 6 minutes. She didn't say, but I stirred the mixture the whole time, just in case. It's amazing to watch all the resulting liquid cook down and thicken. Once it's thick, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
For the crust: In a mixing bowl, whisk together:
2 cups (270 grams) all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt (I used a teaspoon of salt.)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream 1 cup (2 sticks) butter until smooth.
Add 1/3 cup (70 grams) sugar, beat 2 minutes, add 1 teaspoon vanilla, blend in.
Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated.
The dough will still look very crumbly. That's okay. With all that butter, it'll come together just fine in the pan. Dump two thirds of the dough into the buttered pan and pat it into a reasonably level layer with your fingers. See? It holds together just like it knew what it was doing.
Now you take the cooled filling and spread it over the layer of crust, leaving a quarter-inch margin all around the edges. Then take the remaining third of the dough and crumble it over the filling. It's okay if there are little gaps that show bits of the filling. Gently press the crumbs into the filling, put it in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
When you take it out of the oven, set the pan on a cooling rack and cut the squares/bars while it's still hot. Then let it cool completely in the pan. Cutting it while hot enables you to wiggle out each gorgeous little bar without excessive crumbling and unseemly deterioration of your culinary artistry.
Just in case you didn't get a good enough look up top, here's a closer view of these tasty morsels.
Mmmmm! Look at that tender crumb. Gaze with delight on that lush, tart-sweet filling. Wipe the drool off your chin and head right into the kitchen to whip up a batch for yourself.
Listen, I would love to share this batch with you, really. Oh, WHEN will they invent email that allows you to send real live food attachments? Geez, if the hackers would just consider the benefits to themselves, I'll bet they could come up with such a program -- I'd be happy to keep sending attached Cheetos to such genius persons.Wouldn't you?