cranberry streusel shortbread bars

**** this post is going to take a little imagination on your part****

First, imagine William Shatner there on the bottom. I know Chris Pine is a fine piece of eye candy but he's just not mockable enough. So you need to hum the Star Trek theme with the dulcet voice over of The Original Captain Kirk...

Stardate: I think it's November 22, 2009. I have been stranded in ECM's kitchen for an awful long time. Let's call it a shortbread ecstasy trip.

Space the final frontier...

scratch that... rewind...

Baking the final frontier...

DAMN IT!!! That's not right either...

Shortbread the final frontier...

ah much better.

Well, anyways, spacelog... The shortbread has eluded me long enough. I have searched high and low (well, through space anyways) for a great shortbread recipe. But with no luck. The Enterprise happened upon a small dwelling on my home planet, the 3rd rock from the sun, EARTH.

The queen of this little dwelling went by the name Evil Chef Mom. Considering her name she was a benevolent ruler and she was kind enough to share her recipe with me in exchange for the new Scotty.

Who knew she had such a crush on a goofy looking Scotsman? Oh well, The Enterprise will run a little slower but well worth it for a good piece of shortbread.

cranberry streusel shortbread bars: fine cooking sweet cakes

for the crust and streusel:

10-1/2 oz. (1 cup plus 5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to just warm
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 large egg yolks
14-1/4 oz. (3 cups plus 3 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour

for the cranberry topping:

12-oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over, rinsed, and drained
1 cup granulated sugar

optional: 1/4- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
juice and zest of one orange

make the crust:

Line a straight-sided 13x9-inch metal baking pan with foil, letting the ends create an overhanging edge for easy removal. In a medium bowl, stir together the butter, 3/4 cup of the sugar, and the salt. Whisk in the egg yolks. Stir in the flour to make a stiff dough. Transfer about 2 cups of the dough to the prepared pan, and press the mixture evenly into the bottom. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Refrigerate the pan for 30 minutes (or freeze for 5 to 7 minutes), until the dough is firm.

Meanwhile, position a rack near the center of the oven and another near the top. Heat the oven to 325°F.

Bake the dough until the crust begins to set but does not brown at all on the edges (the center will not be firm yet), about 20 minutes. While the crust bakes, prepare the streusel and the topping.

make the streusel:

With your fingers, combine the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar with the reserved dough until crumbly. The mixture should hold together when pressed, but readily break into smaller pieces.

make the cranberry topping:

In a medium saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water (and optional ingredients) to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool 5 to 10 minutes—the syrup will continue to thicken as the mixture cools.

making the bars:

Spread the cranberry mixture evenly over the hot crust. Scatter the streusel over the cranberries (don’t crumble the streusel too much or the texture will be sandy). Increase the oven temperature to 350°F and bake the bars near the top of the oven until the streusel is golden and set, about 25 minutes. (Baking these bars at the top of the oven helps the streusel brown faster without overbrowning the crust.)

Place the pan on a metal rack to cool until the crust is completely firm, at least 1 hour. (For faster cooling, put the bars in the fridge once the pan is no longer piping hot, or even outside in winter.)

When the bottom of the pan is cool, carefully lift the bars from the pan using the foil sides and transfer them to a cutting board. Separate the foil from the bars by sliding a spatula between them. Cut the bars into 1-3/4-inch squares.


Mayberry Magpie said...

Whaddyaknow? I wanted Cupkate to make these and instead she made the Almond Cheesecake Apple Bars, which are SCRUMPTIOUS, by the way. So I got the vicarious thrill of seeing both made . . . even though I only get to eat one of them. Maybe I can talk her into these next week.

By the way, these long-ass recipes in this book WEAR me out.

Devi said...

I love the step-by-step pictures. I'm making these this afternoon :)

Cali ʚϊɞ said...

i'm really loving this new pic layout... i think i may try these during all the christmas baking craziness that we do at work. i swear i think i put on 5lbs every year in just baked goods.

TKW said...

You crack me up, girl!! You're right, you need the cheese-factor of Shatner's voice!

And that's the only way cranberries should be eaten, in my opinion, bathed in buttery streusel!

tamilyn said...


LilSis said...

These look delicious and I love your step by step recipes! You make this look pretty easy so I think I could actually make these! My neighbors might be getting these for Christmas this year.

Julie said...

You had me at "hot shortbread". Oh my.

Natural selection said...

I'm a doctor jim not a pastry chef.
But I'll give it a shot...pun intended.

amycaseycooks said...

Lovin' the photos. If I had enough patience, I would thry that too.

Now I am off to make these bars.

Mrs. L said...

Cracked Me Up! :) And the shortbread looks yummy.

The Yummy Mummy said...

These look insane. As usual. xo