Orange Cranberry Crumb Bars
Welp, that’s a wrap summer. Time to take the boat out of the water, put the white jeans in storage, and get out the big sweaters, leggings and boots. Recently I re-read this book called “Who moved my cheese?” and I’ve been quoting and referencing it a lot the past few weeks. It’s all about change, and how you can either be stubborn and fight change, or accept the fact change happens and adapt with it. So let’s all just do that with this whole season thing, can we? Before you dress yourself in all your white clothing and sit on the couch face planting into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with end-of-summer-depression, let’s first accept the fact the seasons are going to change whether you like it or not, and then let’s think of all the nice things about fall:
- Semi-warm temperatures with no humidity
- Apples for baking
- ALL things pumpkin (muffins, pies, cookies, coffee, carved, seeds, I mean EVERYTHING pumpkin)
- Cranberry season
- Using the slow cooker
- Not wearing bathing suits
- The return of Scandal
- Socially acceptable 24/7 legging usage
- No more Facebook posts from your teacher friends complaining about going back to work
- Pretending to watch football as an excuse to day-drink and continuously eat on the weekends
- No Cape traffic
- No snow
- It’s not winter
I could go on, but honestly, get onboard the wagon with accepting summer’s over and you’ll be a lot happier. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but if I learned anything from Who moved my cheese? it would be that if I sit here whining over how summer is over then I will starve to death and die. (I think that’s what the moral of that story was). So in the spirit of embracing change with open arms, I decided to give you the PERFECT most delicious dessert to transition smoothly out of summer and into fall – the Orange Cranberry Crumb Bar. Orange and cranberry is my all-time favorite flavor combination, we already covered that a few weeks ago in muffin form. Cranberries are starting to make an appearance in the freezer section of the grocery store, so I snagged two bags for baking experiments. I decided to adapt my Mixed Berry Crumb Bar from a few weeks back, and swap out the lemon for orange and mixed berries for cranberries. And it worked. And they not only smell like angels, they taste like heaven.
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Zest and juice of one orange
- 3 cups cranberries, thawed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 13×9 baking dish with parchment paper and grease with non-stick spray.
Step 2: In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup granulated sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder. Mix in the salt and orange zest. Using two forks or a pastry cutter (my recommended approach) blend in the cold butter and egg. I usually cut the cold butter into half tablespoons before attacking it with a pastry cutter. This takes a while, and I usually alternate the pastry cutter and mixing with my hands near the end until the dough is crumbly. Place half of the dough into the prepared pan and press down so it is even.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, stir together the sugar, corn starch, and orange juice. Fold in the cranberries until evenly coated. Sprinkle the cranberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the cranberry layer.
Step 4: Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
One bite of these and you’ll be out of your white jeans and into leggings and rolling around in a pile of leaves before you even realize it. They are very sweet, similar to how cranberry sauce is, but the orange zest flavor really compliments the cranberry and it is a very refreshing dessert packed with flavor. To make these easier to serve, I put them in muffin papers since they can get a little sticky. Expect lots of cranberry, pumpkin and apple combinations from me in the next few weeks.
So let’s see, not too much has happened over the past few days since I was delayed in my blog post last week. I went down to the Cape for one last long weekend, and even took Friday off to get the most out of the remaining nice weather down there.
I also napped a lot, which if you know me, I am normally incapable of napping or sitting still, especially mid-day. But I tried to embrace a little more relaxation this weekend and afternoon naps seemed necessary. We did a lot of cooking at the house which was nice. Another reason to add on the long list of reasons why I should be wifed up, is that I love cooking for groups of people. Friday for lunch I made everyone BBQ chicken salads and Saturday night we stayed in and had homemade pizza and watched Divergent, and last night I made the peach cobbler for dessert. I’ve also survived a full week without coffee or booze. Only 3 more weeks to go with this post summer detox. The nice thing is though, is that I’m refocusing all of my energy this month onto house projects. (outside of the big work project that launches at the end of the month).
My mom is coming up next weekend for 48 hours of nonstop house projects (wahoo). We went to Home Depot on the Cape bright and early Sunday morning to start project planning. We descoped the kitchen backsplash for likely next year, and reprioritized some house painting for this weekend. I bought the rest of the pieces for my bedroom set from Pottery Barn so we’re going to paint my bedroom and then the back hall where the washer is, and a few other outside projects.
I will say the paint man in Home Depot yesterday was not my favorite person. When I asked for 3 paint samples, he asked if I was going back to school. To which I replied “I’m almost 30 … so … no. I’m painting my house.” And he said “ohhhhh YOU’RE painting the house? You mean your husband? or boyfriend?” Now, if I could have snapped a picture of the death glare I gave him at this moment, you’d probably never look at me the same. So I just got all Kelly Clarkson up on him and told him I do my own painting and I don’t need a man <insert sassy finger wag and snap here>.
Happy Labor Day!