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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cranberry Shortbread Bars A La Mode

Cranberries in June? You bet. I always freeze a bag or two  when they are in season and I never regret that I do. Frozen cranberries come in handy when it is hot and humid and we crave a tart, refreshing dessert. The original recipe is on the Joy of Baking site. I tweaked it. You may have noticed that I do that a lot. The original recipe proportions looked too sweet and I wanted tart. Not too tart, just tart enough that eating a spoonful of vanilla ice cream with it would make a perfect balance.

Now let's see if I can recall all the tweaking I did.

Cranberry Filling
6 cups of cranberries
1/3 cup  sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 c orange juice
2 tsp vanilla extract

Shortbread Mixture
4 cups  flour
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
2 cup of butter
2 teaspoon of vanilla
2/3 cup of brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch pan with butter or cooking spray.
2. Put cranberries, sugars, ginger, orange juice, and vanilla  in a saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes until it becomes reduced and syrupy. Be sure to give the mixture a stir once in a while to ensure the mixture does not burn; be gentle though as you don't want to break the berries. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Mix together in a separate bowl the flour, cornstarch, salt, and ginger.
4. Cream the butter with the brown sugar and vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
5. Press two-thirds of the dough into the prepared pan. Then evenly spread the cranberry filling, leaving 1/4 inch of space on the sides. Crumble the remaining dough over the top. (My dough was not crumbly, so I just tore pieces off.) Bake for 45 minutes or until top begins to brown around the edges. Cool, cut and serve with vanilla ice cream.

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