Sunday, 23 December 2012

Cranberry Spice Bars with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Here I am sharing another riff on a Marion Cunningham recipe; this one Raisin Bars from The Fanny Farmer Baking Book.  

Ms. Cunningham's recipe calls for raisins and an orange glaze.  My recipe is made with dried cranberries and topped with an orange cream cheese frosting. Those are really the only changes I made.  The recipe was already beautifully spiced.  I just made it a little more seasonal.  

These are very, very good.

To make Cranberry Spice Bars, you'll need:

  • 2 cups dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

To make the Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, you'll need:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut in pieces, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces butter, cut in pieces, at room temperature
  • the zest and juice of 1 medium sized navel orange
  • icing (confectioners) sugar

Put the cranberries and water in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and oil until the butter is melted.

Allow the cranberries to cool to lukewarm.

Beat the egg and add it to the cranberries, together with the brown sugar.  Stir until the sugar is incorporated.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground allspice, and nutmeg.

Stir the flour mixture into the cranberry mixture.  Mix in the walnuts.

Spread the batter in a buttered or oiled 9 x 13 inch pan. 

Bake the bar at 350F.  

Ms Cunningham's recipe says this bar should bake in 20 minutes.  I find it takes nearer to 40.  The bars are done when a pick is inserted into the center and comes out clean.

Allow the bars to cool in the pan until they reach room temperature.

When the cranberry spice bars have cooled completely, make the frosting.

Beat the butter and cream cheese together until they're completely blended and light in texture.  

Add in the orange zest and about half the orange juice.

Add in the sugar a couple of cups at a time until the frosting is a texture and flavour that pleases you.  If you need to thin the frosting, use the reserved orange juice.  

Spread the frosting over the cranberry spice bars in the pan.  

Allow the bars to rest until the icing has set up a bit, maybe a couple of hours, then score it and cut it.  

Store your cranberry spice bars in their baking pan, covered snugly with plastic wrap.  The bars can be frozen too.

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