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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Orange and Cranberry Bar Cookies

How Cranberries Grow

The cranberry is a Native American wetland fruit which grows on trailing vines like a strawberry. The vines thrive on the special combination of soils and water properties found in wetlands. Wetlands are nature's sponges; they store and purify water and help to maintain the water table. Cranberries grow in beds layered with sand, peat and gravel. These beds are commonly known as bogs or marshes and were originally formed as a result of glacial deposits.

In Massachusetts we call the place where cranberries grow a BOG. Natural bogs evolved from deposits left by the glaciers more than 10,000 years ago. These deposits were left in impermeable kettle holes lined with clay. The clay prevents materials from leaching into the groundwater. Rocks and other organic materials were collected by the glaciers. When the ice finally melted deposits of heavy materials were layered on top of the clay.

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What You Will Need

1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup cranberries, chopped fine
3/4 cup orange marmalade
2 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup pecans, ground fine
1 Tbsp milk
2 Tbsp diced cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9" baking pan. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugar. Beat in the eggs. Beat in the cranberries and marmalade. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Spread dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until firm to the touch.
Make the topping. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar then add the pecans and then the milk. Spread the topping over the warm cookies and then sprinkle the diced cranberries over the top. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars.
NOTE: Refrigerate these bars once they have cooled. Serve them with whipped cream. Makes 1-2 dozen depending on how big you cut your bars

© Debra K. Allen a.k.a Lady Guinevere

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