Sunday, December 16, 2007
Cranberry Oat Squares
We were very busy this weekend taking care of some holiday stuff, but I couldn't let the weekend go without trying a new recipe. Once again, it's a bar cookie, and it happens to feature cranberries, which anyone who reads this blog can tell is one of my favorite flavors for Fall and Winter baking.
This is a fairly basic recipe, a flour, brown sugar, oatmeal base, topped with a homemade cranberry orange jam, and then with more of the cookie base. The base is crumbly and sweet and the thin layer of cranberry jam offers a nice sharp contrast. Yum.
For the filling
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange (about 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (do not use quick-cooking or instant)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking oil spray, then line the pan with a double thickness of aluminum foil so that the foil extends beyond 2 opposite ends of the pan. Fold the overhang down to form handles. Lightly grease the foil with the spray.
For the filling: Combine the cranberries, sugar and orange zest in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the filling has thickened and reduced to about 1 cup. Transfer to a bowl to cool completely.
Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the butter and use your fingertips to work it into the dry ingredients until well combined; the mixture will be crumbly. Press half of the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and spread the cooled cranberry filling on top. Sprinkle the remaining crumbly mixture over the filling and gently press into an even layer. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is evenly browned. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
Run a knife around the 2 inside edges of the pan to release the bars from the sides. Lift up on the foil handles to remove the bars from the pan. Using a large, sharp knife, cut into 16 bars. Cool completely before storing.