Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Cranberry Bars

Okay everyone, it’s time to get ready for Thanksgiving! Even if you don’t enjoy our tradition of football and food, I think you will enjoy my week of dishes. In honor of my other job, being a fitness instructor, I have decided to offer some healthier options. Monday thru Friday, enjoy a twist on the usual tradition. I’m not really a tradition kinda girl anyways. Last year I celebrated Christmas with two dogs and three cats after spending dinner with friends. The past two thanksgivings I have enjoyed a casino buffet and take-out pizza. I think the only holiday that deserves major pomp and circumstance is my birthday! No, really, Halloween. And maybe the 4th of July. I do like fireworks!

Let’s get started with the end. Dessert is the easiest to prep ahead of time. Enjoy the bounty of the fall season by incorporating cranberries into dessert. Add some pop with white chocolate and you’ve got one sweet finale to dinner. If you have the time, why not whip up some homemade ice cream to go with these treats?

But don’t be fooled by the decadent look of these cranberry bars. They are made with a mix of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. The fresh cranberries (or frozen if you need!) are packed with vitamins. The walnuts add some healthy fats and these bars come in at around 150 calories a piece. Enjoy without guilt, just have someone there to hold you back from eating the whole pan-full!

Cranberry Bars

Feel free to up the whole wheat flour to 1 ¾ cup and ½ cup all-purpose flour. Just be sure not to replace all of the all-purpose flour, you need it for the light texture of these bars. I think these bars would also be amazing with almonds instead of walnuts. Play around and you decide! You can bake these earlier in the week and store them in the fridge. When it’s time to eat, simply pop them into a 250 °F oven and warm for about 15 minutes.

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 c cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1 cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup white chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 °F.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.

Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, making sure everything is well incorporated. Finally, add cranberries, walnuts and chocolate chips and mix in by hand.

Spread into a greased 9x13-inch pan, pressing in with your fingers if necessary. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a toothpick poked in the middle comes out clean.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes on a wire rack before loosening edges and inverting onto the rack. Allow to cool further before you try cutting into small bars. (I went with 32 bars.)
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