Crisp and Creamy Cranberry Bars

Crisp + Creamy Cranberry Bars

With the holidays coming up, I wanted to feature a few recipes that make great gifts. These crisp and creamy cranberry bars are total crowd pleasers, so they’re a good bet whether you’re taking them to share at the office, or brunch, or to leave on a neighbor’s doorstep. I’ve been making these for years and they’re always a hit!

With a hint of orange and the brightness of the cranberries, all wrapped up in a crunchy, cinnamon crust, we like eating these for both breakfast and dessert.

This recipe comes from the November 2008 issue of Cooking Light. The original recipe calls for an 11″ x 7″ pan but I find that they work better in an 8″ or 9″ round pan.

Crisp and Creamy Cranberry Bars

Ingredients

Crust:
4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons orange juice
Cooking spray

Filling:
1 1/3 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 325-degrees. Combine the crust’s dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Add the butter and orange juice, and stir until the mixture is well combined and crumbly. Press into the bottom of a greased pan, reserving one cup for the topping.

2. Combine the ingredients for the filling by stirring well with a spoon. Spread evenly over the crust. Top with the reserved flour mixture.

3. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy warm or chilled (really, it’s great either way).

Crisp and Creamy Cranberry Bars

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Weekend Links + Looking Amazing

Frock Files | Weekend Links + Cultivating Community

It has been a very full week — all good, but our schedules have left little room for relaxation. Among the comings and goings, Kona graduated from puppy kindergarten and was awarded an AKC Star Puppy Certificate for her hard work! We’re finally settling into a good routine, including a day of daycare, and I feel a lot saner than I did a month ago.

We’re looking forward to a wide open weekend of sleeping in, getting cozy, and maybe even escaping for our first in-theater movie since bringing the puppy home. Here are five lovely things for you to cozy up to this weekend:

There are so many echoes from the past year of my life in this post.

Look amazing in every single picture from now on.

The best slow cooker soup ever.

Pens! Pens! Pens! From Japan!

Quite possibly the most beautiful dessert I’ve ever seen.

What are you up to this weekend?

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How to Make Pumpkin Mochi

How to Make Pumpkin Mochi

Since making Kona those puppy ice cream bites a couple of weeks ago, then the pumpkin hand pies, we’ve had some extra pumpkin-y ingredients hanging around. Of course, when my mind turns to sweets one of the first things to surface is mochi – my favorite!

This mochi is a little bit like a cake-y custard infused with pumpkin flavor. Everyone who tasted it this past weekend gave it a thumbs up, and I gave it to some pretty harsh (read: brutally honest) critics! This is a great one if you’re gluten-free; just remember to use certified gluten-free sweet rice flour and baking powder.

How to Make Pumpkin Mochi

This recipe is an adaptation of the recipe found on Aloha World.

Ingredients

Wet:
7 oz. pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin)
7 oz. pumpkin pie filling
7 oz. sweetened condensed milk
1 block butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla

Dry:
8 oz. sweet rice flour (Mochiko)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients with a whisk. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

2. Grease two glass pie dishes and evenly pour the mochi batter into both. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

3. Practice self-restraint by allowing the mochi to cool 2-3 hours. Cut with a plastic knife (it should glide right through!) into small pieces. Indulge in pumpkin bliss!

P.S. Want more mochi recipes? Check out the easy chi chi dango recipe from my grandma, or the instructions for mochi ice cream.

Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

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Simple Recipe: Butterscotch Mocha Cake

Butterscotch Mocha Cake (Easy!)

To close out this month of cake recipes, I’ve concocted a really easy cake using three flavors I love: coffee, chocolate, and butterscotch! The recipe is adapted from a cake my mom made when we were growing up called BTS cake. Better Than Sex. We thought that was scandalous!

The cake isn’t actually BTS (I mean, come on), but it is pretty delightful. The sour cream keeps it moist, while the fluffy coffee-flavored whipped cream balances out the sweetness.

Butterscotch Mocha Cake (Easy!)

Ingredients

1 box super moist chocolate cake
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
8-ounce sour cream
6-ounce package butterscotch chips

Whipped Cream Topping
2 cups whipping cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee

Instructions:

1. Place the butterscotch chips in a small bowl and roll them in some of the dry cake mix. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and sour cream.

3. Pour evenly into two 8″ cake pans. Sprinkle butterscotch chips on top of the cakes. They’ll sink while they’re baking, so it’s always a good idea to add them last rather than folding them in. Bake for 35 minutes.

4. While the cakes are cooling, make your whipped cream by mixing the cream, sugar, vanilla, and coffee on medium to medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Yields: Two 8″ cakes

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Frock Files | More Simple Recipes

How To Make Mochi Ice Cream

Frock Files | How to Make Mochi Ice Cream

We’re already a week into July and I realized that I haven’t made the announcement yet about this month’s theme! Since it’s been so hot and sticky here, we’ve decided that this month should be all about keeping cool. Look forward to posts about cool foods, as well as keeping your cool and cool finds!

As many of you know, mochi is one of my favorite foods in the world. In fact, many of you found this blog after I posted my grandma’s super soft mochi recipe. Well, in the summertime I’m a big fan of mochi ice cream — a scoop of ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of mochi. And while I love the stuff you find at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, those usually only come in green tea, strawberry, or chocolate and I wanted more options, including the option to use a vegan ice cream to make it both a gluten-free and vegan friendly confection.

I made two varieties: salted caramel gelato (not vegan) and strawberry (vegan). But you can use any flavor you choose!

Frock Files | How to Make Mochi Ice Cream

Recipe adapted from the  Japanese Ice Cream blog.

Ingredients

50 grams mochiko (sweet rice) flour*
100 grams sugar
100 ml water
Cornstarch (to cover work area)

Ice cream or gelato

* You can find mochiko in Asian grocery stores, but I’ve discovered that Bob’s Red Mill makes a sweet rice flour that works just the same!

Instructions

1. Put four scoops of ice cream on a baking sheet covered with freezer paper. Place them in the freezer to use later.

2. Place the mochiko in a glass or ceramic mixing bowl and slowly add water, 2 tablespoons at a time. When the mochiko and water are completely combined, mix with sugar.

3. Cover the mixture with a piece of plastic wrap. Slit a hole in the middle to allow heat to escape. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, re-cover with the plastic wrap and microwave at 50% heat for another minute. The mochi should be thick and shiny.

4. Cover a cutting board with cornstarch, then scoop the mochi onto the cutting board. Be careful, it’ll still be hot! Coat with cornstarch and pat outward from the middle to flatten. Some people like to use rolling pins at this point which may make it possible for you to make up to six mochi balls with thin coats. Put the cutting board with the mochi on it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

5. Using a small bowl or teacup, cut circles out of the flattened, cooled mochi. Layer on a plate with plastic wrap between each circle. Dust each layer of plastic wrap with cornstarch to keep it from sticking. Cover all layers with plastic wrap, then place in freezer for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the mochi circles and dust each off using a pastry brush or a soft, wide paintbrush. Place the mochi circle back on a piece of plastic wrap, then place a scoop of ice cream in the middle of the circle. Fold the sides of the mochi up around the ice cream. Twist the plastic wrap up and around the mochi ball, and place in the freezer for two hours. Continue with remaining mochi and ice cream.

Frock Files | How to Make Mochi Ice Cream

P.S. Looking for a good vegan strawberry ice cream recipe? Janae has a great one on her blog, and it’s also budget friendly — it costs just $2 per quart!

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