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Orange and Cranberry Ginger Oat Bars

These bars are tangy with fruit, chewy with oatmeal and not too sweet. They will disappear quickly from any dessert table.

1 (12-ounce)package whole cranberries, rinsed and picked over
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 flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

To make the filling: 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 the heat. Transfer to a shallow plate or bowl and refrigerate until cooled and thick. (The filling can be made up to one day ahead.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

To make the crust and topping: 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. Beat in the sifted mixture and the oatmeal just until blended.

Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the dough for the topping. Spread the remaining dough in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. 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 for a few hours before cutting into bars. Makes about 30 or so.

"Bar Cookies A to Z" by Marie Simmons

Thursday, October 05, 2000

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