I just returned from visiting my great grandmother in faraway Small Town, Texas. She's been sick and age is taking a toll on her body, so my mother, aunt, brother and I went to see her. It was hard to see her body, frail and weak, but her mind is mostly still there. She still has a sense of humor and is eating well, so that is a good thing. Of course, she still has her bad days and fortunately, I didn't witness any of those this weekend, but I know they exist and they're real for her.
My grandparents and my great aunt have been caring for her full time and that is taking a toll on them. They do it because they want to, but it is strenuous, to say the least. It was nice to catch up with the family though, since we don't see them nearly as much as we want to. We had great conversations, lots of laughter, a few tears, and comforting food. We all stayed at my grandparents house, where they have lived for over 40 years. There was 7 of us sleeping under one roof, and I never realized how tiny that house is. I love it though and it reminds me of when I was a kid, except back then, it seemed huge to me!
These cranberry bars have nothing to do with my roadtrip or visiting family, except for the fact that I made them right before leaving town. I cut the recipe in half and made a 9x13-inch pan of cookie bars. For the full recipe, visit Michelle of One Ordinary Day. She made hers with blueberries, which I love, but I wanted to use something seasonal, so I chose cranberries. I didn't want them to be too tart, so I added a sprinkling of coarse sugar to the tops before baking. They were not only pretty, but they were delicious. They tasted like a good soft sugar cookie speckled with festive berries. I gave my mother-in-law half the bars and they were gone in no time!
Cranberry Cookie Bars adapted from One Ordinary Day
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups berries (cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries- fresh or frozen, don’t thaw them)
- 2 teaspoons coarse sanding sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray a 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, cream together canola oil, butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.
Add the flours and baking soda and stir just until the batter comes together.
Spread 2/3 of the batter in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with berries, then drop the remaining dough in spoonfuls over the fruit – it will spread as it bakes, and you don’t need to cover it all.
Sprinkle the top of the cookie batter evenly with coarse sugar.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.