5/19/08

Cranberry Bars with Craisins

When I was a child the only way I knew of the word 'cranberry' was a gelled substance served by my Grandmother at Thanksgiving that came straight from a can and still had the rings it its can-shaped form on a serving plate. It wasn't until I was out of high school that I gave cranberries any thought of all and that was only after I was in charge of making my own Thanksgiving Dinners.

I've came a long way since then. I absolutely love cranberries now, although I still don't like cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. I use cranberries to make homemade sauces, I use them in cheesecakes and coffee cakes and bars. I also love them in dried form, which you can purchase as "Craisins" in the grocery store next to the raisins. These bars use craisins, which will give you the health benefits of the cranberries but in a 'fun' form.


Cranberry Bars made with Craisins

Cake
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup diced dried craisins
6 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks

Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced craisins

And more of the white chocolate for the drizzle over the top.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the cake:

Beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla, ginger, and salt; beat well. Gradually mix in flour until smooth. Mix 3/4 cup diced dried craisins and white chocolate into the batter by hand. Pour batter into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake is light brown on the edges. Let cool.

For the frosting:

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange juice and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, spread frosting over the top of cake. Sprinkle top with diced craisins.

For the drizzle:
Melt white chocolate either in the microwave or in a double boiler until smooth. Drizzle the melted chocolate over craisins in a sweeping motion or use a ziploc bag with the corner snipped.

Allow cake to sit for several hours, then slice the cake lengthwise through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.
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