Fresh Cranberry Bars

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What to do with leftover fresh cranberries? These moist cranberry bars! From the Oleson-family-owned O&H Danish Bakery, just north of Chicago in Racine, WI, these bars are easy-good. Third-generation baker Eric Oleson was happy to share the recipe which he says has been passed down in his family for close to 100 years. The slices put two good things together: the Danish penchant for butter, with Wisconsin’s bounty of fresh cranberries. The bars only appear at O&H during the Holiday season. “It’s kind of a traditional thing,” says Oleson, who likes to serve these very-moist bars chilled with a dollop of whipped cream.

 

Makes One, half-sheet pan ( 18 x 13 inches) of bars

Cranberry Bars Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups white cane sugar
  • 4 sticks melted butter (1 pound)
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 6 cups (two bags) whole, fresh, cranberries (picked over and rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped (OR walnuts)–note: the nuts are optional
  • (Optional glaze: 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice whisked with 3/4 cup powdered sugar)

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350F. Line the half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, whisk eggs until foamy. Gradually whisk in sugar. Lower speed and whisk in butter. Stir in flour, just until incorporated. Add cranberries and nuts (if using). Batter will be quite stiff. Press into prepared pan; bake 40 to 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. (If you like, brush the cake with a little of the orange/sugar glaze.)  Cut into bars.

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