Sunday, 13 April 2008

Cranberry Bars

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries, loosely packed
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, optional and
   to taste

For the Frosting and Topping
1 cup chocolate chips, melted and divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups+ confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup dried cranberries

For the Bars

  • Preheat oven to 350F. 
  • Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, spray with cooking spray; set aside. 
  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
  • In mixing bowl add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, and if cool enough melted butter and stir to combine., taking care not to over-mix or the bars will be tough. 
  • Fold in 3/4 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup cranberries, optional orange zest, and stir to combine. 
  • Put batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife if necessary.
  • Bake for 18 to 21 minutes, and center is set and golden or until edges begin to slightly pull away from sides of pan, or a toothpick comes out clean; do not overbake. 
  • Allow bars to cool before frosting them. While they cool, make the frosting.

For the Frosting and Topping

  • In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate until it can be stirred smooth. 
  • Combine cream cheese, about three-quarters of the melted chocolate, 2 cups confectioners' sugar vanilla, and beat until smooth and fluffy. 
  • Add more additional confectioners' sugar based on taste preference and desired frosting consistency. Frost the bars when cool; if you have excess, it will keep quite nicely in the freezer for a long time.
  • Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup cranberries over the top of the frosted bars. 
  • Evenly drizzle bars with remaining melted chocolate, reheating for a few seconds in the microwave if it has set up. 
  • Allow bars to set up for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.