Easy bars can help you have a ‘berry’ Christmas

I bought a very large bag of fresh cranberries recently. This led to a lot of Internet searching to decide how to incorporate all of them into several delicious recipes.

The one I’m sharing with you this week for cranberry bars was requested by Joey, who said he thinks bars are an underappreciated dessert medium.

I agree. After all, it’s a lot easier to bake a pan of bars than shape a million separate cookies. And during the holidays, when it seems like there’s social event after social event where you need to prepare and bring a treat, saving those minutes in the kitchen is a nice respite.

This recipe comes from the blog “The View from Great Island.” You can find the original post at https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/minimal-monday-fresh-cranberry-bars/. I didn’t feel the need to double the vanilla this time, because there was already an entire tablespoon in there. The author is a woman after my own heart.

Fresh Cranberry Bars

Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened

2/3 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1-1/2 cups fresh cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8-by-8-inch pan by coating it with cooking spray.

Beat the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the salt and vanilla.

Mix in the flour until it’s well combined.

Take about two-thirds of the dough and press it evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Spread the cranberries out evenly over the dough. (If you have some extra berries, go ahead and add them in, too.)

Take the rest of the dough, break it into small pieces, and crumble it evenly over the top of the cranberries.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the bars are golden around the edges.

Let these cool before slicing or the bars won’t hold together well.

Store in an air-tight container.

Joey proclaimed these as one of the best things I’ve ever made, so this is a recipe that will definitely make it into my recipe box.

Really, any fresh berries should work well for this recipe, if you’re not a big fan of cranberries or they’re out of season.

I also think you could get away with using frozen berries for this, as long as you thaw them and drain them well.

You’d think after making a cranberry lemon pound cake and these bars that I would be all out of my stock of cranberries, but there were still quite a few leftover for me to play with.

It’s a good thing I love those beautiful red berries.

Lindsey Young is co-owner of Kansas Publishing Ventures which publishes the Hillsboro Free Press. She is also the office manager in Hillsboro. She can be reached at: Lindsey@clarionpaper.com.