Cranberry Bliss

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Perfect balance of sweet and tart with white chocolate and cranberries. And the colors add a festive holiday feel to any cookie tray or table. And the perfect cocktail to pair with this dessert….Champagne!  Garnishing your glass with mint adds to the holiday season colors.

If you haven’t tried candied cranberries, you are in for a treat. Tart with added sweetness is the perfect snack for your holiday cocktail party.

Cranberry Cookie Bars

 

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Makes 16-20 bars

Ingredients

Cookie

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped

Frosting

  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup white chocolate
  • ½ cup dried cranberries, chopped

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8 or 9 inch baking pan with aluminum foil, with excess over the sides. Spray with nonstick spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, beat melted butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until combined (do not over mix). Fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries. Spread into the prepared baking pan.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

(If you prefer to make cookies instead of the bars, drop dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden and continue with instructions)

To make frosting: In a bowl using an electric mixer beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Melt chocolate using a double boiler method or  microwave in 30 second intervals, mixing in between each interval, until melted.   Add in half of the melted chocolate and continue to beat for a few minutes. If you prefer a thicker frosting, you can add more powdered sugar.

Once cookies are cooled, spread frosting on top and sprinkle cranberries or additional chocolate chips if desired. Drizzle the remaining half of the white chocolate using a fork and cut into bars.

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Candied Cranberries

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • Sugar for garnish

Directions

Heat sugar, water and ginger in a sauce pan until sugar has dissolved, but not boiling.Turn off the heat and stir in the cranberries.

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Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. This helps loosen the skin of the berries and the liquid also clings to the berries to help with the sugar coating.

(If the cranberries do not submerge, you can top the cranberries with another bowl or plate to keep them submerged overnight)

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Strain the cranberries and discard the ginger.

* If you are making the cranberry cocktail, do not discard the liquid as this is the simply syrup needed for the cocktail.  You can also save the liquid for up to a week in the refrigerator if you are making a cocktail at a later time.

Add sugar to a dish/bowl, add cranberries and shake the dish to coat cranberries. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet to dry at least an hour.

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Cranberries can be kept in an air tight container for a week.

 

 

Cranberry Bliss Champagne Cocktail

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Ingredients 

  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • ½ oz. ginger cranberry simple syrup reserved from candied cranberries
  • ½ oz. cointreau, or grand marnier (optional)
  • Champagne
  • Optional garnish: candied cranberries and mint

 Directions 

In a champagne glass, add cranberry juice, simple syrup, cointreau/grand marnier and top with champagne. Add candied cranberries and mint as garnish, if desired.

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