Cranberry Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

Trusting has been difficult for me, yet of the highest importance. I don’t trust easily – or often. It takes years of loyalty to gain my trust, one bad deed to destroy it. One boyfriend, The Irishman, managed to garner my complete trust during our exceedingly brief 8-month relationship. At the time, I should have questioned it further – why did I trust him, what was his secret trust sauce? Because now, I could use a magnum of it. I find myself obliged to trust others with my livelihood, my reputation, my future, my pride and, most importantly, my heart. Utter reliability on others has never been my forte and, today, I’m left vulnerable. I possess no options except to close my eyes, fall back from a great height, and pray someone’s there to catch me.

While I anxiously await answers to my immediate future, I divert myself with this holiday-appropriate use for leftover cranberry sauce, using last week’s recipe.

Cranberry Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Inspired by Bon Appétit’s Double Cherry Streusel Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 8×8-inch baking pan with heavy-duty foil, leaving overhang. Spray foil with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in processor; blend for 5 seconds. Add butter and extract. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and pulse until mixture comes together in small clumps.
  3. Transfer ½ cup (packed) mixture to small bowl and reserve for streusel. Blend remaining mixture in processor until large moist clumps form. Press dough over bottom of prepared pan. Don’t clean processor bowl. Bake dough until golden, about 15 minutes; cool crust 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
  4. While crust bakes and cools, blend cranberry sauce in processor into a chunky puree. Add oatmeal and walnuts to reserved 1/2 cup dough. Mix dough with fork or fingers, breaking streusel topping into small clumps.
  5. Spread cranberry sauce over baked crust. Sprinkle streusel topping over. Bake until filling is bubbling and streusel topping is golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang as aid, lift from pan. Peel off foil and discard. Cut cookies into 16 bars.

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5 Ingredient Chocolate Walnut Cookies

5 Ingredient Chocolate Walnut CookiesYou can’t forge a new path without stepping in a different direction.

Following my own advice, I took a dozen steps in various directions today. Time will tell if I’ve begun a new path or if I’m merely walking in circles.

One of the drawbacks of culinary school is my ability to conceive and whip up a batch of freshly baked cookies in just minutes as a treat.These rich, not-too-sweet morsels will satisfy any chocolate craving.  My taste buds cheer, my hips sigh…

5 Ingredient Chocolate Cookies

1 c. Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
½ c. Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
2 Egg whites
1 t. Vanilla
½ c. Chopped walnuts
Flaky sea salt -like Maldon (optional)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a sheet pan with Silpat or parchment paper. Combine confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder and set aside. Beat egg whites into stiff peaks. Slowly add dry ingredients. Incorporate vanilla. Batter will have a consistency similar to melted chocolate. Add walnuts. Place batter in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to slightly stiffen dough. Drop by small spoonfuls onto sheet pan. Lightly sprinkle with salt (if using). Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are set and no longer wet looking.Slightly cool, remove from pan and cool completely. Dust with additional powdered sugar, if desired.