How has everyone's holidays been?! Well, just Thanksgiving I guess. I know I say this every year but the holidays creep up on me faster and faster. It's crazy. Can you believe 2012 is near over? And isn't the end of the world coming up quite soon here, too? Just kidding.
Anywho, my life has been a bit topsy turvy as of late and the holidays are not making anything calmer. Aside from conjuring up Christmas presents for everyone, working, slipping in a workout or two, and attempting to blog, I also have several Christmas parties coming up that I'm oh-so-excited for. But really, who wouldn't be?! So needless to say, both my weeks and weekends are pretty much jam packed for the rest of the month. And so here's my early apology for neglecting LSM. It's already begun and I feel bad about it. Sowwy.
As you can tell, it's been hard for me to get in the kitchen for one reason or another. Too tired, too busy, you know the deal. But I made myself bake something this week because I knew it'd make me feel better. And the magic of baking worked.
I decided to go with something rather easy and uncomplicated because I was short for time and energy, but dang. I'm glad I did. I opted to try out une gamine dans la cuisine's Brown Butter Cranberry Shortbread because it seemed classic and simple, yet I knew it'd be a quality treat as this blog is one of my all time favorites.
And. I was right. The bar consists of a tart, jam-like cranberry filling nested atop a soft, brown buttery, shortbread and finished with crumble of the same shortbread mixture. Does that make sense...? In my head it reads funny. But regardless, all you must know is that the combination of the sweet, brown butter shortbread, and [very] tart cranberry filling is one festive holiday treat that will keep you coming back for seconds. Or thirds. Addictive little buggers.
I hope everyone is enjoying this holiday season. As we well know, it only comes around once a year and even if you're feeling the stress of it all, take a breath and really enjoy it. Family, friends, and food. What more could we want?! .
From une gamine dans la cuisine
Crust and Crumble:
1 c. plus 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar, divided
3/4 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 c. plus 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 (12 oz.) bag fresh cranberries
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. orange juice
- Line a 13x9-inch pan with foil; butter or spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- For the crust, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat. Increase heat to medium and, stirring occasionally, cook the butter until it turns golden and develops a nutty aroma (about 5 to 8 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled brown butter, 3/4 cup sugar, and salt until well blended. Add the egg yolks and almond extract and whisk until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour until you have a stiff dough.
- Transfer about 2 cups of the dough into the prepared pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate for 40 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar to the remaining dough and using your fingertips, work the sugar into the dough until it becomes crumbly. Cover and set aside.
- In the oven, place one rack second from the bottom and the other rack second from the top. Heat oven to 325°F.
- Once done, remove the crust from the refrigerator and prick the dough with a fork several times. Place the pan on the lowest rack and bake 15 minutes or just until crust begins to set (don't worry if the center is still doughy, it's better to under bake at this point).
- For the filling, in a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid turns into a thick syrup and the cranberries take on a chunky, jam-like consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the filling to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Spread the filling over the partially baked crust and crumble the remaining topping over the filling. Place the pan on the highest rack and increase oven to 350°F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crumb topping is golden brown. Let bars cool for 1 hour before cutting.
Yield: 2 dozen bars