ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cranberry-Pear Bars (by Kat)

Another winning mix of flavors not seen often enough! The sweetness of the pear is perfect coupled with the tartness of the cranberries. And for me, the star of the show is actually the frosting, and I'm not such a frosting girl! The combination of the orange and cinnamon is so yummy. Not such a surprise since those two friends make an excellent pairing in tea, but it really made me wonder why I don't combine them more often in baking. That needs to be fixed!

These bad boys are more of a cake than a bar cookie, so I don't think they would work well as part of a goody plate ensemble. They would be great to bring to a holiday potluck or to close a holiday meal - they're moist but not too dense, with just the right level of sweetness to make a nice dessert. Or a nice snack, say, as you walk through the kitchen.

While mixing these, I kept checking the recipe to see if I'd forgotten something. Nope, they really are this simple. I didn't bother thawing the cranberries - I'm not the most patient girl - and I also gave them a rough chop. For the frosting, I made a basic butter cream frosting and added 2 T of orange juice concentrate instead of the orange zest. (Are you listening, Santa, I really need a new micro-plane grater!) I don't have a jelly roll pan (again, Santa!), so I just baked these in a 9x13 pan, which worked well but required slightly longer in the oven to cook through.Cranberry-Pear Bars
1 white or yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 T finely grated orange peel
1 firm pear, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Easy Orange Frosting (see recipe below)
Ground cinnamon, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 15x10x1 baking pan.

2. In a large bowl combine the cake mix, eggs, melted butter and orange peel. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds or until combined. Fold in the chopped pear, cranberries and pecans.

3. Spread mixture in the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Frost with Easy Orange Frosting. If desired, sprinkle with ground cinnamon on top. Cut into bars; makes 48.

Easy Orange Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine one 15 to 16 ounce can of vanilla frosting (or better yet make your own), 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp grated orange peel.

To store: place bars in a single layer in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies magazine, December 2009

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