Sunday, May 31, 2009

cranberry sour cream bars


'long about Christmastime, I accidentally bought several bags of dried cranberries instead of fresh. I love dried cranberries, so this wasn't a problem, but I still had to find uses for them. A few weeks ago, I came home from the store with two pints of sour cream out of nowhere. The bagger must have missed giving them to the person in front of me (who must have been ticked when he/she got home). After ascertaining that the store didn't care if I kept them, I started looking for uses for sour cream. I happened upon this recipe that called for both ingredients. It sounded like a take on a typical fruit bar: crumb base, baked until golden brown, topped with fruit filling, sprinkled with reserved crumbs and baked again. It was an odd recipe, as I'll describe, but the taste was very good! The bars are chewy and wholesome, owing to the whole oats, and they are also deceptively (and happily!) lemony. In fact, I almost think it's an oversight not to include lemon in the recipe title; not only is the taste prevalent, it really makes the cookie come together. Here's the recipe:

Sour Cream Cranberry (Lemon) Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) packed brown sugar
2 cups quick-cooking oats (I used regular oats. It would probably be wise to give these a whirl in the food processor.)
1-1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups dried cranberries
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Combine oats and 1-1/2 cups (6 3/8 ounces) flour; add to the creamed mixture until blended. Set aside 1-1/2 cups for topping. (Let me stop here and say that I have never creamed butter and sugar together in a recipe like this. Typically, you cut the butter into the sugar and/or flour. Obviously, a creamed butter/sugar mixture is going to be very wet, and even with all the flour and oats, the crumbs were still quite sticky. I might try cutting in the butter next time to see the difference.)

Press remaining crumb mixture into an ungreased 9x13" pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. (Again, even baked, this was way wetter than most crumb bases. Not problematically so, but more along the lines of a cookie dough than a crumb or shortbread base.)

While the crust bakes, in a large bowl, combine the cranberries, sour cream, sugar, egg, lemon peel, vanilla and remaining flour. Just throw it all in and mix. You can use a whisk or rubber spatula. It will seem fairly dry at first, but as the sugar soaks up the egg and sour cream and dissolves, it will actually get quite liquidy. Spread evenly over crust. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. My crumb mixture was still fairly wet at this point, and it certainly didn't sprinkle. If anything, I broke up the large crumbs to try to cover the top relatively uniformly.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack and cut into squares. I cut about 36 bars. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

Large hunks of crumbs

Very liquidy cranberry filling, flecked nicely with lemon zest
Cranberry topping over the warm crust
Topped with blobs of crumbs and ready for the oven
I guess I forgot to take pictures of the finished product (whoops) but mine looked just like the photo on the original recipe page referenced above.

1 comment:

The Food Librarian said...

Oh! These look good. I have a bag of dried cranberries!