Monday, December 10, 2007

Cranberry Snowdrift Bars

Cranberry Snowdrift Bars
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
A lot of the recipes I make during the holidays are family traditions or recent standards - wagon wheel cookies, peanut butter balls, various fudges, and my recently discovered seven layer bars. I am trying to add a few new recipes to the repertoire. This one comes from the book I mentioned last week, A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies. Can I just say again that I highly recommend this cookbook? I haven't made an unsuccessful recipe from it yet.

I really liked these - they capture the flavor (cranberry) of the season as well as a weather reference (meringue), although if you live in South Carolina like I do you have been experiencing weather that is the opposite of snowy - today it got to 77 degrees! So we sometimes have to create a feeling with our baking if nothing else cooperates.

Cranberry Snowdrift Bars

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Filling and topping:
1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce, not jellied
2 large egg whites
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.

2. Whisk flour and salt together in a small bowl.

3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating on high speed until light and fluffy. This may take as long as 8 minutes. Do not rush; mixture should be almost white in color. Beat in vanilla. Add in 1/3 of the flour and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour, mixing just until blended. Pat crust in an even layer in baking pan. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight. Wash and dry beaters of mixer.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake crust until completely dry to touch and a pale golden brown, about 40 minutes. The edges will be a bit darker. Place pan on rack to cool 5 minutes, then spread cranberry sauce evenly over crust using a small offset spatula or back of a spoon.

5. To make topping, whip egg whites until foamy in a medium clean, grease-free bowl with mixer on high speed. Add cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually, whipping until stiff but not dry peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Spread meringue evenly over cranberry layer. Use back of teaspoon to make peaks and swirls in meringue.

6. Bake until meringue is a light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Place pan on rack to cool. Cut into 20 bars (4 x 5).

Fluffy pillow of meringue

Jenny's notes: Definitely let egg whites come to room temperature before beating, and the meringue will go much more easily. I also doubled this recipe. Why do all the work and only have an 8x8 pan to show for it, when you can use up the entire can of cranberry sauce that way?

Categories: Cookie, Cranberry, Holiday, Meringue, Shortbread

1 comment:

Meeta K. Wolff said...

These sound great. Lovely and moist!