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Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cranberry Bliss Bars

I admit it, I love Starbucks.

Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars on Nutmeg Disrupted

I really love Starbucks. I have made so many memories in their coffee shops. Hanging out with my girlfriends, Tweet Ups, the first time meeting an online friend who flew out from the opposite end of the country, business meetings, to sitting there alone, headphones on, writing, thinking, people watching.

Nutmeg Disrupted hanging out at Starbucks

The hours must be in the hundreds. Even though I go there for the coffee I have on occasion tried some of the baked goods they offer.

Now one who’s never enjoyed white chocolate, I am surprisingly smitten with their Cranberry Bliss Bars.

Having moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere I am sorely lacking my Starbucks fix. After recently hitting one in Chapters after doing some Christmas shopping I bought one of those triangles of sweet cranberry love. And it has been on my mind ever since.

 

Cranberry Bliss Bars

3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup dried cranberries

6 ounces white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

 

Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

6 ounces white baking chocolate, melted with 1 teaspoon of shortening

1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, melt butter for one minute in the microwave, stir in brown sugar, let cool to room temperature. Use an electric mixer to beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, gradually add all the ingredients to the mixer bowl.

Cranberry Bliss Bar Topping on Nutmeg Disrupted

 Stir in the cranberries and chopped chocolate. The batter will be very thick, almost like a cookie dough.

Cranberry Bliss Bars on Nutmeg Disrupted

Pat the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-blended.

 Gradually add half of the melted white chocolate, beat until blended. Frost the cookie base. Sprinkle with cranberries. Drizzle with remaining melted white chocolate. Cut into bars- square or triangle-shaped.

Cranberry Bliss Bars on Nutmeg Disrupted

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

 

 

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Sugared Cranberry Bites

Sugared Cranberry Bites

We recently did an entertaining tasting event at work. Being a produce manager my selection to choose from is quite extensive. There are so many things I could have featured. At a meeting before the event someone had mentioned cranberry sauce. That started the gears in my mind turning. I thought it was a fantastic idea.

So many people automatically reach for the canned cranberry sauce on the shelves they have no idea how easy and flavorful homemade cranberry sauce can be.

The result were show stopping and fabulous! We had people coming back four and 5 times.

Sugared Cranberry Bites from Nutmeg Disrupted

By the end of the evening we sampled out over 400 bites and had received rave reviews from everyone.

Because of the volume of samples we presented costs and time available for prep were kept in mind. If I were to make these at an event I hosted in my home I would have chosen phyllo cups as the vehicle for the bites.

This is a three step appetizer so planning ahead is essential.


Sugared cranberries on Nutmeg Disrupted

Sugared Cranberries

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 cup of maple syrup or honey

1/2 cup of water
1 cup granulated sugar

Rinse cranberries and place in a large bowl. Heat syrup or honey and water in a small sauce pan just until warm. Pour the syrup over cranberries when warm. You do not want the syrup too hot as you do not want the cranberries to pop. Allow to cool. Cover and let the berries soak in the refrigerator overnight.
Drain cranberries in a colander. Place sugar in a large bowl or baking dish. Add cranberries in small batches and roll around until lightly coated in sugar. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet until dry, 1 to 2 hours. When dry the berries have a nice crunchy candy coating.

Cranberry Sauce
1 bag of cranberries – fresh or frozen
1 cup of mango melon juice
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey

Place all the ingredients in a small pan. Cook  on low – medium heat, stirring occasionally.

As they heat up, the cranberries will pop open. You know the sauce is done when 90 % the berries have split open.

Pour into a bowl to cool.

Surgered Cranberry bites on Nutmeg Disupted

 Sugared Cranberry Bites
crackers or phyllo cups

soft spreadable cream cheese
cranberry sauce
sugared cranberries
fresh mint for garnish

Spread the crackers with the cream cheese, add a teaspoon of cranberry sauce, and 4 or 5 sugared cranberries. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bran and Cranberry Buttermilk Muffins

Bran and Cranberry Buttermilk Muffins

One of my fondest food memories is of my grandmother’s bran muffins. She never had the luxury of dried cranberries, her muffins had raisins.

Warmed just to the touch with a pat of butter, really there is nothing better. The sweet nuttiness is perfect along side a cup of tea or a fresh berry smoothie for a quick breakfast.

If you do not have buttermilk on hand you can make your own with millk and either vinegar or lemon juice. Take a 1 cup measuring cup and add a generous 1 tablespoon measure of vinegar or the lemon juice. Top the cup off with milk, stir gently and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Use in place of the buttermilk.

Bran and Cranberry Buttermilk Muffins

3 cups wheat bran

2 cups buttermilk

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2  cups brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cup pans with paper muffin liners.

Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk, let stand for 10 minutes.

Beat together oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in cranberries and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

bran muffin

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

bran muffin

 

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Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

 

As a follow up to my Thanksgiving post I wanted to talk about cranberries!

I use them in quite a few things. Candies, breads, jams and of course, homemade cranberry sauce.

I was even a runner up in a Taste of Homerecipe contest using them!

They are tart little berries that bring a pucker to your lips and are great in so many different applications.

Far gone are the days of the congealed red tube from the can where you can count the rings.

Fresh is best, and cranberries can be found in any good grocery store.
It seems wrong to not make it.

And before I go any further, my shout out this week is to my grandmother, Dorothy Whyte.

She has been gone for a long time but has always been an inspiration to me for what she did in the kitchen. I wish she and I could have swapped recipes and talked about food.

I think she would have been pleased to know how much of an influence she has been in my cultivation of the passion I have for food and all I can create with it.

I was so very lucky to receive her last jar of crabapple jelly, which I now make, and it is exactly how hers used to be.

I think she would have enjoyed this sauce!

Citrus Honey Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of cranberries – fresh or frozen
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of honey

 

Place all the ingredients in a small pan. Cook  on low – medium heat, stirring occasionally.

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As they heat up, the cranberries will pop open.

You know the sauce is done when 90 % the berries have split open.

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Pour into a bowl to cool.

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For something a bit different to use up your homeamde cranberry lovliness I am sharing a great quick bread that is fantastic for fall.

Cranberry Nut Bread

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups of cranberry sauce
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350ºF

Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine with sugar in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add egg; mix well. Break up cranberry sauce with a fork and add to the butter mixture. Add nuts. Add dry ingredients to the cranberry mixture, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moist.

Spread batter evenly into prepared loaf pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. If bread begins to brown too quickly, loosely cover with foil and continue to bake until bread tests done.

Citrus Honey Cranberry Sauce on FoodistaCitrus Honey Cranberry Sauce

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