There is one bar recipe that I only make around Christmas time. Every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t make it more often! It’s these uniquely delicious cranberry bars – cranberry date bars to be more exact. I make sure to buy extra cranberries before Thanksgiving just so I can make these cranberry bars.
This is a recipe my Mom made every Christmas after she received it from a friend at our church in Michigan. I’ve never had a dessert bar like this anywhere else!
These cranberry bars have a delicious crumb topping (that also serves as the base) and has a tangy but sweet fruit mixture in the middle. The fresh cranberries provide the tartness while the dates sweeten it nicely. On top of it all, you pour a delicious orange flavored glaze that is the perfect addition.
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It is not as easy of a recipe as some of my dessert recipes because you do have to chop dates and cook fresh cranberries. However, if you have a food processor or blender to chop your dates – it is worth using so you can make these cranberry date bars!
The other nice thing about these cranberry date bars is that they freeze well. You can easily make a pan ahead of time, cut them into bars and freeze them, taking out what you need when you host a party or have company over. I always have a variety of bars in my freezer around the holidays for entertaining purposes!
If you are looking for a new recipe to try this year, try making these cranberry date bars! They are truly delicious.
Here is how you make cranberry date bars.
For the bars:
3 cups (12 oz bag) fresh cranberries
8 oz pitted dates, chopped
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
For the frosting:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 tablespoon orange juice
Rinse and drain cranberries. Set aside.
Chop dates in food processor or blender until roughly chopped or cubed.
Cook cranberries and dates together over medium heat. Mash, mix and set aside.
Begin to make a crumb topping by mixing together butter, brown sugar and vanilla. (Use your hands or two knives to mix it together.)
Add flour, baking soda and oats to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until combined and resembling a crumb topping.
Pat half of the crumb mixture firmly into a 9×13 pan. Smooth cranberry filling over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top in chunks or tiny pieces.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Frost with glaze when bars are still warm from the oven. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.