Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookie Bars

In my neck of the woods, it snowed ten inches yesterday. Naturally, there’s only one thing to do when the flakes are falling down from the sky at such a steady pace… Bake! I created these beauties yesterday afternoon as an idea for a super versatile dessert – whether giving to your kids in a bagged lunch, serving at a party, or just having on hand around the house when your sweet tooth comes knocking!

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This recipe turned out perfectly to make 8 bars, but feel free to double it to make more!

Start by pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees and spraying mini loaf pans with cooking spray. I have a nifty set of 8 that are all connected, kind of like this one.

Like most cookies, these start by prepping dry and wet ingredients separately. In a medium bowl, combine 1 and 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt. Then, in a stand mixer bowl, cream together 1 stick of softened butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla.

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MAKE OR BREAK TIP: Remember that “creaming” together butter and sugar should be done at a high speed for at least two minutes! Start at a low speed to get things starting to break down, and then kick it up to medium-high until the mixture is smooth.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then beat in one egg. Reduce the mixer speed to “stir” and slowly combine in the flour mixture. You’ll probably need to use a spatula at the end to fold in the last bit of flour and make the dough into a nice ball.

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Fold in a heavy 1/2 cup each of dark chocolate chips and dried cranberries until they are distributed throughout the dough. Divide the dough evenly between 8 mini loaf pans and then bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

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Once they come out of the oven, allow to cool in the pan for a minute or two before using a metal spatula to help remove them cleanly from the pan. Place them on a wire rack to cool completely… but feel free to enjoy while they are still warm!

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These are perfectly sweet, so one bar should be plenty enough for one person! You may want to cut them in half for the kiddos.

Oh, and you’ll DEFINITELY want to serve these with some cold milk!

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Hopefully you’ll enjoy them as much as my house did – 24 hours later, they are already gone!!

Full Recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookie Bars

Yield: 8 bars

Ingredients:

1 & 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
Heavy 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Heavy 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Process:

1) Preheat oven to 375 and spray 8 mini loaf pans with cooking spray.

2) In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

3) In bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla on with paddle attachment medium-high speed until smooth and creamy.

4) Scrape down sides of the bowl and then beat in one egg to butter and sugar.

5) Reduce mixer speed to “stir” and slowly combine in flour mixture a little at a time. Turn off the mixer and remove paddle to allow you to fold in the last bit of flour by hand at the end and create a neat dough ball.

6) Fold in chocolate chips and cranberries until well distributed throughout the dough.

7) Divide batter evenly between 8 mini loaf pans and bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan slightly before using a metal spatula to remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Skillet Chicken with White Wine Cranberry Glaze

I often have occasions where I stare into my pantry/fridge and I see a couple of different things and think, “Hm, I wonder if I could make this work together…”

Perhaps I just watch Chopped too much, but this dish was born out of that type of experience. I knew I had chicken in the fridge and dried cranberries in the pantry, so I got to thinking, “What if…” and thus, this dish was born. And boy, was it delicious.

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Bonus, I’ll also include a recipe at the bottom for that amazing spicy and sweet succotash you see with the chicken. 😉

Preheat the oven to 350. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet and heat over medium-low. While the pan is heating, sprinkle both sides of two chicken breasts with salt, pepper, oregano, cilantro, and thyme, then add them to the pan.

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Let them cook for about 5 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes. While they are cooking, roughly chop about 1/4 cup of pecans and spread them out on a small baking sheet. Then dice 1/4 of an onion and mince 1 clove of garlic.

Once the chicken has browned on both sides, put it in a baking pan coated with non-stick cooking spray and allow to bake while you prep the sauce. (About 15 total minutes in the oven should do it.) You can also put the chopped pecans in the oven now – just remember to take them out after about 5 minutes.

In the same pan that you cooked the chicken (still over medium-low heat), add your diced onion and toss to coat in the remaining olive oil. Allow these to saute for a few minutes, then add the minced garlic and about 1/2 cup of dried cranberries.

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Toss to combine and allow to simmer for another two minutes or so, then add 1/2 cup dry white wine to the pan. Allow this to reduce down (3-5 minutes) and then add 2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese and 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir this in until it melts, leave on the heat for one more minute, and then remove from the heat.

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Plate your chicken once it’s cooked through and top with the glaze and a handful of chopped pecans. Serve with the spicy-sweet succotash listed below!

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Recipes:

Skillet Chicken with White Wine Cranberry Glaze

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, cilantro, oregano, thyme (to taste)
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
1/4 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1 tbsp butter

Process:

1) Preheat oven to 350. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat.

2) Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt, pepper, cilantro, oregano, and thyme, then place in the heated oil. Cook for 5 minutes per side, then place in a baking dish coated with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes. Put the pecans on a small baking sheet and also put these in the oven – bake for 5 minutes.

3) In the same pan used for the chicken (still over medium-low heat) add the onions. Toss and saute for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cranberries. Saute for another 2 minutes or so, then add wine and allow to reduce for about 3-5 minutes.

4) Add the mascarpone and butter to the pan and stir until they’ve melted. Remove from the heat after an additional minute.

5) Plate chicken and top with glaze. Sprinkle with toasted pecans. Serve immediately.

Spicy-Sweet Succotash

Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 & 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup frozen corn
3/4 cup frozen lima beans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
Salt, pepper, cilantro, cayenne, to taste

Process:

1) Add frozen corn and lima beans with water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes.

2) After the initial 7 minutes, add the cranberries to the water and cook for an additional minute or two.

3) Drain, then put the succotash back in the sauce pan over low heat and stir in butter, sugar, and spices. (The more cayenne you add, the spicier it will be. A safe bet to not be overwhelming is about 1/4 tsp.) Serve immediately.