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About 20 years ago, I subscribed to a small newspaper called The Blue Ribbon Gazette, a publication devoted to county and state fair cooking winners.  Sadly, it’s no longer in publication but I got some wonderful recipes while it was around.  One recipe that I include every year for St. Nick and Christmas is the one for  Cranberry Date Bars.  It was the favorite treat for my youngest daughter to take to work to share.

CRANBERRY DATE BARS

  • 6 oz. fresh cranberries (frozen don’t work as well)
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • Glaze:  1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar mixed with fresh orange juice to make a drizzling consistency.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a small saucepan, combine cranberries and dates, cook covered over very low heat for 10 minutes until the cranberries pop, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, brown sugar, soda, salt, and flour.  Stir in the butter with a fork.  Put half of the mixture in the bottom of an ungreased 9×9 baking pan.  Spread the cranberry/date filling over the bottom layer.  Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top, patting gently.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes until top is golden brown.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

While the cake is still warm, drizzle the Glaze over the top and cut into bars. 

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This wreath complete with vintage cookie cutters was made by my oldest daughter and hangs in my kitchen to inspire me while I’m baking cookies.