Thursday, November 9, 2006

A change in the air

This week we've had fantastic weather. It's been in the 50's and 60's and certainly doesn't feel like November. I keep trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and I have to tell you, the weather is totally messing with me. Two weeks! I think I need to firm up my menu and start on my timeline. I could be hosting dinner for anywhere from 10-17 people. (But for sure 12 for dessert.) So I really better get moving with that.

Despite the warm temperatures (and no, I'm not complaining about those God! Keep them going please!) and my grasping of Thanksgiving, I am so rady for Christmas. I've begun thinking about my candy and chocolate making, and thinking about my cookie platters. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of a bag of cranberries in my fridge, and they're looking a little sad, so something needed to be done. I immediately thought of bars. I've been trying different cranberry bars for a few years now, looking for the perfect one for my cookie platters, and have yet to find "The One." I thought I'd re-try one that I had thought okay, but in need of tweaking. And it turned out, that I'd tweaked it the first time, and by sticking to the recipe, I created a delightful cranberry bar.

The original recipe was called Cranberry-Macadamia Bars, and I found it in the 1999 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookie Issue. And although I adore macadamia nuts, this recipe called for a cup of them chopped, and that would cost me around 7 or 8 bucks just for the nuts. I would purchase them if I thought they would star, but looking at the recipe, I knew the cranberries and coconut would take over, so I opted for pecans instead. Other than that, I made two minor changes. I left out the orange zest called for, and I added a drizzle of white chocolate ganache to the top (hey, I'm all about the gilding). They are wonderful! I used my food processor to chop the cranberries, and that worked so well- I was able to get them nice and fine, so there weren't big bites of cranberry overwhelming anything. The coconut got nicely browned and toasty on the top, and I love the shortbread bottom with the pecans. All around, these are a great bar, and they may very well make the cut this year. The red from the cranberries and white from the coconut give them a festive look as well.
Cranberry Macadamia Bars may very well star on my next holiday cookie platter... too soon to tell for sure though.


linda said...

mmm, they look yummy... Must get to that Christmad candymaking - thank you for reminding me!

Claire said...

It's so funny to me the difference in weather. We consider 50's and 60's cool, not warm!!! I wish that's the weather we were having, too! I can't wait for the baking season to come. Fun stuff. May try this recipe...I've never used real cranberries.

AK said...

I'm chomping at the bit, too. Luckily I'm doing "cooking Thanksgiving" until the day itself. More time for cookies! I've been trying to recreate a Whole Foods cranberry bar for years: this isn't it but thanks for the reminder, must work on it again now that the cranberries are in.