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Chocolate Cranberry Bars

Chocolate Cranberry Bars are a recipe that I’ve had for a couple years and decided to make for Thanksgiving this year. I thought they looked interesting and I’ve never made a dessert with dried cranberries before. I thought the cranberries would taste good mixed with chocolate and brown sugar coated graham crackers. I don’t really like plain graham crackers, but I love a good graham cracker crust.

I made this with my oldest daughter Samantha on Thanksgiving Eve. I thought it would be a really simple dessert to put together, but I got myself into kind of a ‘sticky situation’. Putting the dessert together was really easy, but after it baked in the oven and cooled off I had the hardest time cutting the dessert into little bars without them sticking together, and a lot of the ingredients falling off.

I thought it might be a total failure and there was no way I was heading to the grocery store Thanksgiving morning. The reason I am against going to the grocery store is because I feel really bad about people in retail having to work on Thanksgiving. If I’m at the store buying ingredients for dessert, I’m only feeding the retail beast.

When I realized the Chocolate Cranberry Bars weren’t going to cooperate I stuck them in the freezer overnight and started thinking of a back-up dessert to bring to Thanksgiving. Brownies were an option, because I’ve always got ingredients on hand to make them. You never know when there might be an emergency that requires baked goods like a spur of the moment bake sale.

The next morning I pulled the eight-by-eight inch Chocolate Cranberry Bar out of the freezer and used a sharp chef’s knife to cut it into single serving pieces. They were still sticky but my last ditch effort worked. I cut little squares of parchment paper to put them on (mini-muffin papers would have worked great) so they didn’t stick to the bottom of my serving tray. I sprinkled any loose pieces of chocolate or cranberries on top.

In the end the dessert went over well and was a success. It would have been kind of messy if I made them the morning of Thanksgiving, though.

I’d like to mention a trick I use whenever I make bar desserts. I take two pieces of aluminum foil and line the baking pan with a piece of foil in each direction. When I’m ready to cut the dessert I just pull the dessert out of the pan by the aluminum foil that’s sticking out on the sides. Then I can even move it to a cutting board and I don’t have to worry about demolishing the first piece by digging it out of the pan.

So you’ve already made some delicious recipes from my website or you’re going to make them soon. Are you going to bring them to work or a party? Because I know you want to show off the food you made. Either way you’re going to need something to bring it in right?

I recommend, the Pampered Chef Chillzanne Rectangle Server. I’ve had one for years and I always use it for bringing food like this to parties or work. It comes with an insert and removable dividers. The insert will keep your food cold if you store it in the freezer beforehand. A nice thing about the insert is that one side is flat and the other side has cut outs specifically made for deviled eggs.

Adapted from Gale Gand

Click here for a link to my regular Seven Layer Bar recipe.


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About Chef

James Cutler

Hello, my name is Jim Cutler. I love to cook and bake. I also like cake decorating and have taken some classes for it. I am not ...