Cranberry Cookie Bars:  what to do with that leftover cranberry sauce

Cranberry Cookie Bars: what to do with that leftover cranberry sauce

Cranberry Cookie Bars

I always have left over cranberry sauce and never know what to do with it.  Due to my preference for sweets and distinct lack of interest in turkey (or any other kind) of sandwiches that only use a teaspoon or two at a time anyway, it is always a challenge to use up.  I’ve finally found something that tastes great and uses a lot at once – cookies!
These aren’t really anything original, mostly replacing the traditional raspberry jam with the cranberry sauce in a very simple cookie crumble dough, but it was a nice combination and looks very festive.
Printable Recipe for Cranberry Cookie Bars
Ingredients:
3 cups flour
3 cups powdered sugar
3 cups ground toasted pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 cups butter
1/12 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups cranberry sauce
Procedure:
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a 9 x 13 pan, place a piece of foil across the bottom and spray with vegetable spray. (I do have better pans but of course I like to use the ugly one – oh well didn’t really notice until I saw the picture.)

Make a foil lifter

In a large bowl stir all the ingredients except cranberry sauce together mixing well. Using your fingers, make sure that there are “lumps” and pieces to give it some texture.

Mix

Pour all but 2 cups of the dough into the pan and flatten it out using the heel of your hand or a cup. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Press dough in the pan

Cover with the cranberry sauce.

Add the filling

Crumble the remaining dough on top, keeping various sized chunks and leaving some open space.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Crumble the dough on top

Cool then remove from the pan using the foil handles and cut into pieces. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar and serve.

Cranberry Cookie Bars

Enjoy!

The Daring Cooks' Challenge:  Char Sui and Char Sui Bao (charred BBQ Pork plain and in buns)

The Daring Cooks' Challenge: Char Sui and Char Sui Bao (charred BBQ Pork plain and in buns)

Char Sui (BBQ Pork)


Our Daring Cooks’ December 2011 hostess is Sara from Belly Rumbles! Sara chose awesome Char Sui Bao as our challenge, where we made the buns, Char Sui, and filling from scratch – delicious!
This challenge was a resounding success receiving the highest award from the taste testers at each step of the way.  First the BBQ Pork was served straight, then made into the filling for the buns.  I followed the recipe they provided (Herefor both, the only change I made is instead of the pork loin I had some boneless pork ribs that worked wonderfully and of course I had to add some garlic to the marinade – what can I say I put garlic in everything.
As you can see, I got a little carried away with the red coloring but it did seem fitting for the holiday spirit.

Pork with marinade


Pork with marinade evenly distributed


I chose to do the sear and bake method but probably should have done a little better on the “sear” part.  I was too impatient (it really smelled delicious and I was hungry.)

Searing


Seared and ready for the oven


After the baking it was served with rice and vegetables for the first meal.  It was incredibly moist and flavorful.
The next meal was equally delicious.  I chose to make the baked buns and they also got the family seal of approval.

Char Sui Bao (BBQ Pork Buns)


 
 
 

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap:  Filled Sugar Cookies with Nutella, Maraschino Cherries and Honey Caramel

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Filled Sugar Cookies with Nutella, Maraschino Cherries and Honey Caramel

Filled Sugar Cookies with Nutella, Maraschino Cherries and Honey Caramel


I have done lots of cookie swaps, but this was my first cyber exchange and it was great fun!  Each participant made 3 dozen cookies and sent 1 dozen each to 3 other participants.  Sponsored by Julie and Lindsay of thelittlekitchen.net and loveandoliveoil.comIn case you missed out or want more information, you can sign up to receive a notice about next year’s swap at http://eepurl.com/hsS-Y or search #fbcookieswap on Twitter.
I received my cookies from Kara at karaismochibunny.blogspot.com who made wonderful sugar cookies with roasted brown rice and tea leaves; Annakate at laaguacate.com who sent me some lovely lemon cookies; and some great chocolate cookies with peppermint marshmallow toppings from Vicki at wildeinthekitchen.blogspot.com.  We enjoyed them all (pretty much the same day they arrived) and thanks so much for sending them!

Green Tea and Lemon Cookies


Chocolate Cookies with Peppermint Marshmallow Tops


As usual, I was running behind and sent mine the last day – so sorry to the reciepients!  I had a great time making them and we did do a thorough job of taste testing before we mailed them.  Because of the mailing issue, it took me a while to decide but I ended up using my favorite sugar cookie recipe making them in a flower shaped cupcake pan filling them with nutella, maraschino cherries and honey caramel.
The basic recipe is one I use often:
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter softened
3 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Procedure:
1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, almond extract and egg in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except chocolate.  Dough will be thick, but should not be dry.
2. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 3 inches in diameter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 375ºF.
4. Remove rolls from refrigerator and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
For these, after making the basic dough to half I added 3/4 cup pecans in case some don’t like or allergic to nuts.  Instead of rolling, refrigerating and slicing the dough, I rolled small balls about 1/2 inch in diameter, flattened them and placed into the cupcake pan making a hole with my thumb.

Filled Holiday Sugar Cookies


Next I put in the filling:  Nutella, cherries or a small ball of caramel (if you don’t want to make your own, the wrapped soft caramels cut in 1/4ths would work fine).  I experimented with making a one layer thumbprint type cookie with the caramel but it bubbled out of its holes a little so it’s probably best to do a second “cover” layer on those too.

Filled Holiday Sugar Cookies - Nutella


Next I covered the filling with a second layer of cookie rolled and flattened like before. Make sure to gently seal around the edges if you want the filling not to show although it looks kind of neat when you can see the layers too so it is up to you.  For the cherry ones, I placed one cherry with no stem inside then stuck another with the stem into the top of the second layer.

Filled Holiday Sugar Cookies - Nutella


Then baked and drizzled them with white and dark chocolate.

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

These are wonderful holiday cookies and is one of five recipes chosen to be published in the Las Vegas Review Journal .  Starting with a basic sugar cookie dough I added two of my favorites, pecans and cherries and of course for the rest of the family they had to have chocolate.  I’ll be posting more variations soon!
Printable Version
Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter softened
3 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1 cup melted chocolate
1 cup melted white chocolate
1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, almond extract and egg in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except chocolate.  Dough will be thick, but should not be dry.
2. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 3 inches in diameter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 375ºF.
4. Remove rolls from refrigerator and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
7. Microwave chocolate until melted starting with 30 seconds and checking at 15 second intervals.
8. Dip and/or drizzle cooled cookies in white, dark or mixed chocolates (if the chocolate is too thick, add a small amount of corn syrup or vegetable oil to thin).
Servings: 24
 

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies