Wednesday, December 8, 2010

(cran)berry good bars

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.

29 comments:

Blog is the New Black said...

Absolutely beautitful!

Julie said...

I'm glad you got to visit your great grandmother...it's so hard to see those we love go through the trials of aging. The bars look so delicious and beautiful!

♥peachkins♥ said...

wow! it looks so festive!

Debbie said...

They looks so festive and pretty! Delicious too!

Stephanie said...

Yum! These just ooze goodness! love your expression "Small Town, Texas"... :)

bellini valli said...

These are so festive Monica, perfect for the holidays.

Cassie said...

Those look absoultey delicious. I'm glad you had a lovely visit with your great-grandma. It's so hard to see the decline of age sometimes, but I'm sure she was so thrilled that you were able to visit!

teresa said...

those are some beautiful cranberry bars, they look very addicting!

Smitten Sugar said...

So pretty! I dont know that I have ever been a huge cranberry fan but these look pretty good! Ill have to try them this holiday season.

Natasha @ Saved by the Egg Timer said...

Awww, I miss my Great Gma the mostest! She kept her head till the very end and that is such a blessing when they are still mentally capable even if their body isn't. She is the one who inspired my blog and started teaching me how to cook! I am glad you got to spend time with her before Christmas. Your bars are so pretty you (almost) don't want to eat them. And I have a huge thing with cranberries this year so am very happy to give these a try. We have a Nutcracker casting party this weekend so I think I found what I want to bring!

The Captain's Daughter said...

What a blessing it is that you still have your great-grandmother! I've missed my grandparents (I only knew one great-grandparent and was 7 when she passed away) every day of my life!

Your cookie bars are gorgeous!

Avril said...

Family is truly precious. Truly, truly precious! Often when I am with my family (that lives so far away - across the "BIG POND") all I want to do is laugh and cry at the same time for I feel so blessed to be with them. :-)

LOVE these bars Monica! Gorgeous with cranberries and love the versitility of them in that any berry can be put into the recipe. Thank you Michelle for the original sharing of this recipe!

Ingrid said...

YUM! We love cranberries especially baked up in bars, so tart and tangy and GOOD! Got any left?
~ingrid

Felice said...

I am sending good thoughts to your grandma. These bars look amazing, and with the amount of cranberries I have in my freezer, I should be able to make a few batches.

Jennifurla said...

They are so pretty, love the color and texture. How cool of a trip did you have? I love visiting family since I love near no one.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

These look so pretty. My husband loves cranberries any time of year.

I'm glad you made the trip. We were able to have both of my kids and my sister's 2 oldest fly/drive in to see my mom when she got sick. All four of them are 20-somethings and worshipped their grandma. It was wonderful for her as she was aware they were with her and it has really helped them cope with the loss of someone they loved so much. I hope your grandmother has many more chances to visit with you all.

Abby said...

I'm glad you all got to visit with her. I miss my grandmother soooo much, but I'm lucky that my husband and I bought my grandparents' home right before we got married. It's nice to make new memories but keep the old ones, too!

I love baking with cranberries. They're like sparkly jewels, especially at Christmas.

Rosemary Washington said...

This looks like a wonderful recipe. I love using cranberries this time of year. I recently made Pineapple Upside Down Cake and substituted cranberries for the cherries -- it was soooo good. You can see my blog post about it here: http://rosemarywashington.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/vintage-food/

Deanna S. said...

WHY?? Why do you always make stuff that I want to just gobble up? You are the blogger that makes me want to run out to the store, buy all the ingredients and make the recipe. Like, now! Damn you.

Ruth said...

The bars look very good.I also enjoyed hearing about your family.I can imagine that 7 people in one house would almost end up being a pajama party.
Blessings,Ruth

Allie said...

So special that you made the trip out to see your grandmother and spend time with family. I can relate so much right now, as I just spent time with my grandmother in the hospital over Thanksgiving. It is hard to see the matriarchs of our family age and decline in health.
Thank you for sharing the Cranberry Cookie Bars recipe. They are almost too pretty to eat!

Katie said...

Sorry to hear about your grandmother but its loevely that shes so well looked after and loved. I wish her a speedy recovery.

The cranberry bars look delicious and so festive. I'm new to fresh cranberries but love their tartness. Yum

Val said...

They look divine!!

Lynn said...

Mmm, these look delicious, like just the right combination of sweet and sour :)

Maria said...

These are so pretty!

Maranda said...

Those look so good. That may be why you called them "good" bars. LOL! Sorry your grammie is sick. I'm glad you were able to go visit.

Greetings By Chera said...

I made this with the 'last bit' of cranberries left from another dish - it was such a huge hit that when I arrived home from work a few days later - there were MORE cranberries in the house and a sly little note that said "Make more delish Cran cookie stuff- Santa".. I laughed and put off the rest of the cookie baking and made more Cran Cookie stuff for "Santa".. Thank you for sharing! I love your blog!

Chera

Souffle Bombay (Colleen) said...

These look amazing - wow I was unplugged for a monthy and missed so much great stuff...love your egg cups too!

Pixydoodle said...

These look SO good! I can't wait to test out this recipe!!

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