Apple Cranberry Squares
‘Tis the season to be baking with cranberries, or so it would seem. Maybe not everyone is noticing it but there are a lot of festive cranberry dishes sprouting up all over the place. I’m not complaining at all because I love cranberries. Next to apples, they’re my favorite. It’s possible I’m partial to them since I grew up in southern Massachusetts. Cranberries are easy to find around here, especially since Ocean Spray facilities and growers are based in the general area. I found out just the other week that cranberries are the official state berry (or fruit) of MA too and that totally makes sense.
I’ve been sitting, not literally, on my last bag of cranberries wondering what to make with them. The idea of a bar or square type recipe had been lingering in the back of my mind for a while. I’ve made apple squares, pumpkin bars and blueberry squares… so why not another variety based on the previous bunch? I had every intention of making this last week but wasn’t thinking and made fudge with my only square pan, so it was on hold. The other day I got around to experimenting with the possibilities. At first I figured maybe I’d make it with just cranberries, but apples and cranberries go so well together I couldn’t resist pairing them together in this recipe. My debate then went to whole berries or a sauce. In the end I decided on a cranberry sauce to coat the apples. I’m so happy I went with that decision because these squares are amazing. The apples give the center some substance while the cranberry sauce adds a nice tart flavor. This is one of those items that could easily be a huge hit at any party, especially with those who adore apples and cranberries.
My only alteration in the future will be to not bake this with foil or parchment and serve the dessert straight from the pan. It proved to have a fairly solid bottom but if left at room temperature could be hard to slice into neat squares. Cutting and using a spatula would be best. Alternately, chilling the dessert for several hours prior to removing from the pan could greatly help with cutting neat squares.
Yield: serves 9-12
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Apple Cranberry Squares
1/2C white sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2C flour
1/2C butter, cubed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple cider (or apple juice)
1 egg - whites only
1/4C apple cider (or apple juice)
2 tbsp flour
3/4C and 1 heaping tbsp sugar, divided
2 medium baking apples (I used cortland)
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If serving from the pan, grease a square baking pan, witth Pam for baking, butter or shortening.If attempting to remove and cut into slices outside of the pan, line baking pan with foil or parchment.
In a food processor, toss in all crust ingredients except for apple cider and the egg white. Blend until fine. Remove 1 cup of dry crust ingredients to use as the topping. Add the egg white and apple cider to food processor, blend until moist. Transfer mixture to baking pan. Pat down into a fairly flat layer. Bake bottom crust for 10 minutes.
Add cranberries, apple cider and 1/2 cup white sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently until bubbly and all cranberries have burst. Add flour, mix well. Allow cranberry mixture to thicken. Remove from heat.
Peel 2 baking apples and slice into bite size pieces. Toss in a medium bowl, sprinkle with remaining sugar (roughly 1/3 cup) and cinnamon. Toss apples to coat.
Pour cranberry mixture over sliced apples. Stir gently to coat apples completely.
Pour apple cranberry mixture over baked crust. Top off with remaining dry crust ingredients. Gently pat into an even layer.
Bake for 45 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes, toss in the fridge for several hours to make slicing easier. Store in an airtight container for up to several days.