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Sunday, October 31, 2021

Cranberry Lemon Bars

It's almost cranberry time. 


Cranberry Lemon Bars

Makes a 9X13 pan of bars

For the cranberry layer:

1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
3 T water
3/4 c granulated sugar
2-3 large lemons

For the crust:

1 1/2 c AP flour
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 teas fine sea salt
1 teas vanilla extract
3/4 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the lemon layer:

1 c granulated sugar
1/4 c AP flour
1/8 teas fine sea salt
3 large eggs, at room temp
confectioners' sugar, optional

To make the cranberry layer, combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan. Zest 2 lemons, over the saucepan, and reserve the lemons. Over medium-high heat, bring the ingredients to a boil while stirring occasionally. Cook until the berries pop and the mixture is jam-like. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

To make the crust, start by preheating the oven to 350F. Use heavy duty aluminum foil to carefully line a 9X13 baking pan and make sure there are no holes or gaps. Spray generously with cooking spray. Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in bowl. Stir the vanilla into the butter and then pour the two over the flour mix. Mix together and the dough will come together into a mass. Break the dough into pieces as you place it into the lined pan. Press with your hands to ensure the dough is an even layer. Place in the oven and bake until the layer is golden brown at the edges. 

Meanwhile, mix the lemon layer. Squeeze the reserved lemons and measure. You need one half cup; if you don't have enough, squeeze a third lemon. 

In a medium bowl, mix the sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in the eggs and mix only until incorporated. Gently stir in the lemon juice just until smooth. 

When the crust is done, remove from the oven and allow to rest on the counter for 5 minutes and then spread the cranberry mixture over the top. Then slowly and carefully pour the lemon mixture over all, creating two distinct layers as well as you can. I found that the cranberry layer peeked out in some places.

Replace the pan in the oven and bake until the filling is set, 18-22 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack, until completely cool. Then place in the fridge for a couple of hours, at least. When firm and cold, use the foil as a sling and move all to a cutting board. With a sturdy sharp knife, cut into 24 pieces (or more if you prefer). making sure you wipe your knife between cuts. If you like, sprinkle bars with powdered sugar just before serving. 

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