Cranberry Crumb Bars

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I love this time of decorations are going up, family gatherings and parties fill up your schedule and seasonal ingredients are abundant at the grocery store.

Fresh cranberries are one of my favorite seasonal ingredients to work with.  I use them for more traditional dishes like homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but when I saw this recipe online last week, I knew I had to make them immediately!

The vanilla drizzle is the perfect topping for these light and buttery cranberry crumb bars as it helps round out some of the tartness from the cranberries giving these bars a perfect balance of flavor.  If you are looking for a last minute addition for your dessert table tomorrow, make these.  I am serious guys!  This recipe does not disappoint and will be a major hit at any Thanksgiving celebration or holiday gathering this year.

Cranberry Crumb Bars
{yield: 24 servings}

Crust and Topping
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ almond meal or ground slivered almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
1 egg
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
Zest from 1 orange
Juice of ½ orange
1 tbps. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Vanilla Drizzle
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbps. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray or butter.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, almond meal, baking powder and salt.  Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs, then stir in the egg.  Measure out 2 ½ cups of the crumb mixture and press it into the bottom of the grease pan.

Rinse and dry the fresh cranberries before using!

Then in a separate bowl, mix together the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and zest, cornstarch and vanilla extract.  Pour mixture over the crust and spread out evenly with a spatula.  Add the ¼ tsp. of cinnamon to the remaining crumb mixture and spread it out evenly over the filling.  Don't forget the small addition of cinnamon as it adds nice flavor to the topping!

Place into the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.  Be prepared for smells of butter, citrus and berries to flood your house...the smells are truly ah-mazing!

To make the vanilla drizzle, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract and whisk until smooth.  If the drizzle is too thick add a little more milk...if its too thin, add a little more powered sugar to get your desired consistency.  Drizzle the mixture over the top of the room temperature bars and allow it to set.

LOOK at that drizzle!  Wait...I think we need one more look at it, don't you?! guys! It's so good.

The bars should be kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.  I had a one (okay maybe three) that I zapped in the microwave for about 15 to 30 seconds and they were delicious warmed up as well!  Try them both ways and see which you like better.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today and I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow filled with great food, family and friends!

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.

Marshmallow Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Looking to upgrade your traditional pumpkin pie recipe for Thanksgiving this year?  Well look no further my friends!  I have something really, really, really good for ya...marshmallow brown butter pumpkin pie.

This classic pumpkin pie has been upgraded with a subtly delicious caramel, nutty flavored brown butter crust and topped with gooey, toasted marshmallows.

Marshmallow Brown Butter Pumpkin Pie
{yield: 8-10 slices}

1 box refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 bag large marshmallows

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees, then unroll one of the pie crust and transfer to an ungreased pie plate.  Fold any overhanging crust under and make it even with the edges of the pie plate.  Next, lay down some parchment paper and roll out the second refrigerated pie crust.  Using a cookie cutter, cut out leafs, pumpkins, etc. or any shape you would like for the decorative crust.  Add the cutout decorations around the edge of the pie and to help them stick, lightly brush the dough with some water with your finger before placing them down.  Once all decorations are on, place the in refrigerator. 

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Make sure to stir constantly until the butter begins to turn a golden brown color, roughly 3 to 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool while you make the pie filling.

For the filling, add the pumpkin pie spice, salt and eggs into a large bowl and whisk together.  Then mix in the pumpkin and evaporated milk until combined.  Take your pie crust out of the refrigerator and brush the browed butter all over the bottom and sides of the unbaked crust.  Add pie filling, then lightly brush the tops of the cutouts with any remaining brown butter. 

To ensure the edges of your pie don't brown too quickly, cover the edges with a pie shield or tin foil before placing it into the oven.  Bake the pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 40 to 50 minutes...the center of the pie may still be a little wobbly, but thats okay because it will set while it cools.  Take the pie out of the oven and place it on a wire rack and allow for it to cool completely.

Once the pie is completely cool, start cutting the marshmallows in half and place the cut sides down on top of the baked filling.

Place the pie back into the oven about 6 inches away from the broiler.  IMPORTANT: do not walk away or close the over will not be happy with the end result!  Keep a very close eye on the marshmallows and remove once they are golden brown and puffed.

When ready to serve, dip a sharp knife into hot water before cutting so the marshmallows won't stick to the knife.  Also, if you are not going to serve this pie right away and it has cooled completely, place each slice in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to allow the marshmallows to soften. 

This upgraded Thanksgiving classic will "wow" your guests and have them asking for seconds and thirds after they take their first bite!  

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker.
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