Cranberry Peanut Bars

CPBVertbfLOI was thumbing through an errant another holiday-themed cookery magazine – this one “Our Best Holiday Menus” by the nice folk at Better Homes and Gardens from 2007 – that popped up in the book stacks downstairs before adding it to the stack of holiday-themed cookery magazines upstairs, and came across this recipe for bar cookies with cream cheese and dried cranberries and peanuts and stuff.

I won’t be linking to the BH&G web site thingy, ’cause someone over there decided to require folk to ‘register’ to get access to actual recipes, and I think that’s kind of tacky. There are many other options out there that don’t require registration for access to data, and I shall stick with them.

Still and all. This is not a bad cookie bar, and the only even slightly exotic ingredient was, for us, the crunchy peanut butter – Rich is a firm believer in smooth.

•1/2 cup dried cranberries
•1/4 cup boiling water
•1/2 cup + 2/3 cup chunky peanut butter, divided – the recipe says NOT to use ‘natural’
•1/4 cup butter, softened
•1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
•1 cup flour
CPBCranberriesPeanutsAddbfLO•1/2 cup peanuts (I used cocktail – the original recipe calls for finely chopped, but I just tumbled ’em whole into the mix)
•6 oz cream cheese
•1/4 cup sugar
•1 egg
•1 tbsp lemon juice

Heat oven to 350º.

The original recipe calls for greasing an 8 inch square baking pan, but I would use a tart- or, better yet, I think, a spring-form pan, either of which would make a much nicer presentation

CPBPressedIntoPanbfLOCombine the cranberries and the boiling water in a small bowl and set aside to rest for twenty minutes.

Beat the 1/2 cup of peanut butter with the softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.

CPBCreamCheeseWhippedbfLOAdd the brown sugar, and then the flour and continue to beat on low until the mixture is crumbly.

Stir in the peanuts and the drained cranberries.

Reserving one cup, press the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and pop into the oven for 12 minutes.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth, then beat in the remaining 2/3 cup peanut butter, the egg, and lemon juice.

CPBBakedbfLOSpread the cream cheese mixture over the partially baked dough and sprinkle the reserved one cup of the crumbly stuff over the top, pressing lightly into the cream cheese topping.

Return to the oven for about 25 minutes, until the top is light brown and the edges are puffed.

Cool on a wire rack and cut into bars – or – if you use a tart or spring-form pan as I plan to next time, cunning little wedges.

The recipe says these will keep for two days in the fridge, mine have been fine, if a bit on the crumbly side, in a tin on the counter.

You do what you like.

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