These White Chocolate Cranberry Crumb Bars are filled with a deliciously sweet and tart layer of cranberry filling made with real cranberries and topped with white chocolate and sugar cookie crumbs.
Tis the season for these White Chocolate Cranberry Crumb Bars.
Happy Holidays everyone! I hope you all had a delicious and thankful Thanksgiving.
I must say our Thanksgiving was insanely delicious. For the first time EVER, I made smoked a turkey. I must say it was the absolute best turkey I ever had. I brined it for a full day in a concentrated cajun flavored brine and I injected the turkey with an amazing condiment called Creole Butter. I’m telling you all flavor couldn’t escape this turkey if it got up and ran back to the woods (funny?). Now that Thanksgiving is over, I am ready to get in my new kitchen, in my new house and start baking! I’m starting with these White Chocolate Cranberry Crumb Bars.
How these dessert bars were created
First, I must say these bars have been in the making for about a year. I know that seems to be a crazy long time to make a recipe that seems so easy. But I had to try to figure out how to find the perfect balance of the tartness of cranberries and the sweetness of another component. At first, I was going to take the Magic Bar approach and although that may have worked, I wasn’t sure if I would actually like them that much. So, as I was still overthinking how to make these bars, I decided to stop trying to be “fancy” and create these bars in a way that I know my audience, YOU ALL, would appreciate. So I used Sugar Cookie Mix as the layers for this simple dessert bar recipe. These bars are made a lot like my Salted Caramel Sugar Cookie Bars.
How these White Chocolate Cranberry Crumb Bars were made
Making these dessert bars are really quite simple. I started making a cranberry compote using fresh cranberries, sugar, and fresh orange juice to balance out the tartness. I put those ingredients in a pot and brought them to a simmer until the cranberries would start to break down and pop open. The most amazing thing happens when you make cranberries. Because cranberries are naturally rich in pectin, they don’t require a thickening agent like corn starch. I used the juice of an orange to help the cranberries break down and I also added a bit of the orange rind for more flavor. Don’t worry, the compote doesn’t have much of an orange flavor.
I used Sugar Cookie Mix to create the crust and the topping of these bars. It is important for me to point out that when using cookie mixes like this, it is a natural reaction, especially to us bakers, to bring the mix to a dough to form the cookies. However, you don’t want to do that when it comes to this recipe. What I did was simply stir in the egg into the batter and used my hands to break the butter into the mix without forming into a ball. You want the mixture to look crumbly. You could use a pastry cutter if you have one, but using your fingers is fine too.
These White Chocolate Cranberry Crumb Bars are perfect for holiday potlucks, family dinners, and for gifts as well. You know the holiday season is the perfect season to make baked goods and use them as gifts to give to your loved ones. You can bake these, put them in festive plastic treat bags, decorate them with holiday ribbon, and there you have an awesome Christmas gift!
- 1lb. Sugar Cookie Mix
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 4 ½ c. fresh cranberries
- ½ c. sugar
- 1 orange, including half of the peel
- ½ c. white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 Degree. Line an 8X8 square baking pan with aluminum foil and press along the sides. Spray with baking spray.
- In a medium saucepan on medium heat, add the cranberries, sugar, and squeeze the juice from a mid-sized orange into the pan. Peel two large orange peels from the orange and add them to the pot as well. Allow the cranberries to simmer and they will begin to burst open. Stir periodically for 15 minutes the cranberries will become mushy. As you stir, press the cranberries so they aren’t whole. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove the orange peels.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the sugar cookie mix, the egg, and a stick of butter. Start off by using a spoon to mix the egg and break up the butter into the mixture. Use your fingers to break the butter into the mixture without turning the mixture into a ball of dough. As you are breaking the butter into the mixture crumble the mixture with your finger to ensure the mixture is crumbly.
- Take half of the sugar cookie mixture and press into the bottom of the baking dish. Use your fingers or the bottom of a measuring cup. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes on the medium shelf. The crust should look lightly golden around the edges. Allow cooling, about 15 minutes.
- Pour the cranberry mixture on top of the sugar cookie crust and spread using a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the white chocolate chips on top and finally sprinkle the rest of the crumbs from the sugar cookie mix on top of the cranberry mixture and white chocolate chips. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely and cut into squares.