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Cranberry and Orange Ginger-Oat Bars

Bar cookies are adaptable and virtually fail-proof, as well as being easier and neater than other cookies. Just mix, spread, bake. These bars are perfect for the "too-sweet-for-me" set. The bright red cranberry filling is quite tangy, and the oatmeal crust and topping lend a natural sweetness and cake-like texture.


1 12-ounce package whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Crust and topping:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

In a medium saucepan, heat the cranberries, water, sugar, ginger and orange zest until boiling; cook over medium heat until all of the cranberries "pop" and the mixture is thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, transfer to a shallow plate and refrigerate until cooled and very thick. (The filling can be made up to 1 day ahead.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spritz a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick baking spray.

Sift together the flour, ginger, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the sifted mixture and oatmeal by hand just until blended. Reserve about 11/2 cups of the dough for the topping. Spread the remaining dough in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Pat it lightly with fingertips.

Spoon the cranberry filling over the dough, and spread in an even layer. Using floured fingertips, sprinkle small clumps of the reserved dough over the cranberries. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the edges and top are golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Makes 24 bars.

-- Adapted from "Bar Cookies A to Z"; submitted by Marlene Parrish, PG staff writer

Originally published on Sunday, December 13, 1998

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