Cranberry Cookie Bars

As usual, after Thanksgiving, I have tons of homemade cranberry sauce leftover. I usually eat it with foods I’d never eat cranberry with until it is all gone… like pancakes ala cranberry, or french toast with cranberry sauce the side. Tasty, but not what I’d usually eat. This year, there was more cranberry sauce left over than I knew what to do with.

I decided to make simple bars to use up the bulk of the sauce. The result is a sweet cookie like bar with the tart flavor of the berries. One note, your sauce must be chunky and thick. If it is more on the jelly or runny side, it probably won’t work as well. The recipe I use for cranberry sauce is here.

Cranberry Cookie Bar Recipe

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c almond meal (finely chopped blanched almonds)
pinch salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 c left over chunkycranberry sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl whisk the flour, almond meal and salt.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until smooth about 2 more minutes. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Gently beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated.

3. Evenly press two-thirds of the dough into the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Then evenly spread the cranberry filling over the dough base, leaving a 1/2 inch border. With the remaining dough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling.

4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and while still warm, cut into squares. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Makes about 16 servings