The holidays are in full swing and there’s nothing like a house full of freshly baked goods to set the mood for the season. Cookie swaps and recipes flood the online marketplace with everything from slice and bake cookies to tiny treats filled with chocolate or jam. Bar cookies are always a favorite and seem to last longer than individually baked cookies because you can cut them up in stages, while keeping the rest in the refrigerator. I happen to love the layers in a bar cookie and find they are oh-so delightful, especially when reminiscent of Christmastime.
After Thanksgiving, cranberries begin to present themselves in almost every dessert imaginable, and bar cookies are no exception. The Los Angeles Times cooking expert, Genevieve Ko recently moved to The New York Times, and I’ve been a fan of her baking skills for years. These bar cookies layered with cranberry and lemon are a recipe I found on their website, and are terrific to serve during the holidays. The balance between sweet and sour play a nice role in every bite, and if you have a household of lemon lovers, these will surely please their sweet tooth.
I happen to enjoy the mosaic look of these bars and they are most impressive right out of the oven. However, after a soft dusting of powdered sugar, the presentation is muted, but definitely not the taste. They make a great cookie to enjoy with a hot cup of tea, but also are nice served as dessert after any meal. Bring on the cookies.
Cranberry & Lemon Filling
12 ounces fresh cranberries
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 large lemons
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
1/3 cup powdered sugar, for dusting
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
(Makes 16 Bars)
- To make cranberry filling – Combine cranberries with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Zest both lemons into pan, reserve lemons. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 7-9 minutes, or until liquid has reduced and cranberries are jammy. Remove from heat, set aside.
- To make crust – Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of 13 x 9 pan with parchment overlapping sides. Coat with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Whisk vanilla into melted butter and pour over flour. Stir until dough begins to come together, then press into prepared pan. Bake in oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
- To make lemon filling – while crust bakes, squeeze juice from lemons in a measuring cup (should be 1/2 cup). Whisk flour, salt and remaining 1 cup of sugar in bowl. Add eggs and whisk until incorporated. Add lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
- Let crust cool for 5 minutes, then spread cranberry filling evenly over crust. Pour lemon mixture on top.
- Bake in oven for 18-22 minutes, or until set. Remove and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before dusting with powdered sugar. Slice and enjoy!