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Cranberry Caramel Date Bars

Hold on to your seats, friends.

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Did I get your attention yet?

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I sure hope so. Because this is one seriously epic recipe.

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Cranberry Caramel Date Bars

makes about 40 small bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 C fresh cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour, plus 1/3 C (separate)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 C old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1/3 C brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1 C butter, melted
  • 1 (10 oz.) package chopped dates
  • 3/4 C pecans, chopped
  • One 12 oz. jar of caramel sauce

Instructions:

1) Turn on music and put on a cute apron. Both of these things make baking more awesome. Also, preheat your oven to 350. :)

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2) Assemble your army.

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3) Wash cranberries, stir together with 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

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4) Into a large bowl, measure out 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (or white flour — do NOT use regular whole wheat flour — it will be a dense disaster)!

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Add in 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda:

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2 cups of oats: 

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1/3 cup of regular sugar:

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And 1/3 cup of brown sugar, firmly packed. Put some muscle into it!

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Look, it’s a brown sugar sandcastle! :)

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Stir the flour/oats/sugar mixture together.

5) Place 2 sticks of butter in a pan (or in a bowl in the microwave) and heat until it melts. Yes, this is a lot of butter. Sometimes it’s worth it. This is one of those times.

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6) Go on a cheesy photo rampage because you’re waiting for the butter to melt.

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I like stirring. No big deal.

7) The butter has melted! Stir it into your flour/oats/sugar mixture.

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Mmmm… hot butter.

When the mixture gets crumbly, you’re done stirring.

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Take out 1 cup of the mixture and save it for later. Do not eat it. I’m watching you.

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8) Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased or sprayed 9×13 inch baking dish.

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9) Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

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10) When it’s done, take it out of the oven and sprinkle it with fun things. First, the chopped dates:

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Next, the chopped pecans: 

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And then, finally — the secret weapon. The cranberry/sugar mixture!

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Gorgeous, right?!

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I want to dive headfirst into this photo. 

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Drool. Where we were? Ah, yes…

11) Stir together the caramel sauce and the remaining 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour. You may want to heat the mixture a bit in the microwave (just 15 to 20 seconds) so it gets nice and runny.

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Then, drizzle the caramel/flour mixture over everything!

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Omg. Were you drooling yet? Because if you weren’t, this photo might send you over the edge:

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Nommmmm. Try to get a solid layer of caramel over everything — it’s what will make the bars stick together!

11) Last step — sprinkle everything with the 1 cup of flour/sugar/butter mixture that you reserved earlier on. Remember that? You better not have eaten it.

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12) Put your masterpiece back into the oven and bake 20 more minutes, or until lightly browned.

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Finally. Deliciousness is mine!!

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Sample some immediately, burning your mouth in the process, and then let the rest of the mixture cool for awhile before cutting it into bars:

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Share with friends and loved ones — but don’t forget to save some for yourself! :)

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Cranberry Caramel Date Bars

makes about 40 small bars

1 C fresh cranberries
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/3 C WW pastry flour, divided
½ tsp. baking soda
2 C uncooked regular oats
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1 C butter, melted
1 (10 oz.) pkg. chopped dates
¾ C chopped pecans
1 (12 oz.) jar caramel sauce

~ ~ ~

Stir together cranberries and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine 2 cups flour and next four ingredients; stir in melted butter until crumbly.
Reserve one cup of this mixture. Press remaining mixture into bottom of a lightly
greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with
dates, pecans and cranberry mixture. Stir together caramel sauce and remaining 1/3
cup flour; spoon over cranberries. Sprinkle with reserved 1 cup flour/butter/sugar mixture. Bake 20 more minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack. Cut into bars.

~ ~ ~

This is my entry for Foodbuzz’s Project Food Blog Challenge #4: The picture perfect recipe. Voting opens Monday and as always, I am forever grateful for your votes!

My mom has been making these bars for decades and my family has always loved them. I searched online and found a number of variations, but no original source. If credit is due, please let me know! I decreased the amount of sugar, and subbed whole wheat pastry flour for white all-purpose flour, but otherwise left it unchanged.

Comments

  1. 1

    The cranberries look like they were dusted with SNOW!! The caramel drizzle is making my mouth water. I’m jealous you grew up eating these :) Good luck with round 4! I’ll be voting of course.

  2. 2

    SERIOUSLY mouthwatering. I love the cranberry + sugar photo, and the caramel + flour photo…

    and that apron is SO cute!! :)

    you totally have my vote!

  3. 3

    Gorgeous – and tasty, I presume!

  4. 4

    Great job!! Those cranberry pictures are amazing :)

  5. 5

    I think you should win just b/c of your apron! No Anne face this time?

  6. 6

    These look fantastic! (no pun intended!) Also, I totally agree that apron + tunes are required for baking! It makes it so much more fun!

  7. 7
    Jen Robinson says:

    Can you bring me one tonight???!!!

  8. 8

    I stumbled onto your blog randomly and wow- you have my vote.

  9. 9

    Looks awesome! Well done — and much fun, too!

  10. 10

    These look amazing and I am so jealous, because fresh cranberries are no where to be found in my area at this time. I will most definitaly voting when the foodbuzz voting system opens on monday!! :)

  11. 11
    Adventurer says:

    Those define “tasty!” You get my vote!

  12. 12

    First off, you are freaking ADORABLE! I love all the stirring pictures! The recipe looks amazing, and as always, you’ve got my vote!

  13. 13

    The words Om nom nom nom nom don’t do this recipe justice. Those look AMAZING. I want.

  14. 14

    Awesome recipe, Anne! And beautiful photos – great entry for #4! Hope the reunion was a blast. Mine was! :)

  15. 15

    hahahaha love the photo rampage :)

  16. 16

    Love the apron.. and of course the food :)

  17. 17

    I made the mistake of opening your blog before we left for church this morning while my 8 year old twin grand daughters were looking at it with me. Can we make these this afternoon Nana, all during church writing me notes, can we Nana, huh, huh, can we. That’s what we are doing right now. Looks delish. and good luck on #4, as usual I will be voting for you.

  18. 19

    DUDE these bars look seriously, amazingly DELICIOUS!!! Putting it on my
    “must make” list!
    p.s. i heart your apron.. adorable! :)

  19. 20

    Love all the pics! Especially, the OSG-inspired running water & cranberries :)

  20. 21

    I really like your blog and all the recipes seem delish. My only concern is that there are no nutritional values for any of them. Protein, carbs, sugars, fats, etc. Is this left off on purpose? Also I’m a health nut and don’t eat wheat, sugar or dairy. Any suggestions? Hope you go through to the next round!!!! Good luck.

    • 22

      Hey Jill! I don’t count calories so I never calculate the nutritional stats of my recipes. Unfortunately being in school right now I just can’t take the extra time! However, since I’ve had a lot of requests for nutritional stats, I have a friend who is calculating it for me for some of my most popular recipes. Stay tuned!

  21. 23

    Holy. Macaroni. Those look so incredibly delicious, though I’ve never bought caramel sauce before and don’t even know where to look for it. By the hot fudge? Mmmmmmmm. Great entry!

    • 24

      I bought it at Whole Foods, and it was randomly displayed in a little featured area at the end of the baking aisle – probably since lots of caramel apples are being made at this time of year :) But otherwise I’d assume it’d probably be with hot fudge or ice cream toppings!

  22. 25

    Cute pics of you! I particularly like how mess free you make it all look. GREG

  23. 26

    These. Look. INCREDIBLE!!!

  24. 27
    Fiona at Life on Nanchang Lu says:

    These look delicious, my daughter is reading over my shoulder and asking ‘Can you get cranberries in Shanghai?’ I don’t think so – not even frozen -but we might have a go with blueberries. Or we might just look at the photos again and wish we were somewhere that did have cranberries. Sigh.
    Great post and photos, and best of luck to you in this round :)

  25. 28

    That photo of sugar dusted cranberries made my morning! :-)

  26. 29

    Anne these photos are beautiful.

  27. 30

    Those look REDONKulously good!! Anything with chunks of buttery, brown sugary goodness is a check plus in my book :) Voting for you, for sure!

  28. 31

    Anne – Love it, love you in the apron! So cute and Suzy Homemaker, ha! I am going to make this recpe for my Dad who is visiting this weekend, he is a cranberry lover and will be mega impressed. Thanks :)

  29. 32

    Do those leaves provide additional fiber?

  30. 34

    You are super adorable! I love the pictures and the APRON!!!
    You have my vote!

  31. 35

    Looks so yummy! I love your pictures : )

  32. 36

    These look terrific! You’ve got my vote :-D

  33. 37

    Ooooh, I love the picture of the sugary cranberries!! Great post!! :)

  34. 38

    Anne, this is a pretty epic recipe! Whew! Love the pics too.

  35. 39

    Wow yummy, can’t wait to try it, really sweet thanks for the really great recipe, i love your apron btw :D
    wish you good luck :)

  36. 40

    Haha, you crack me up. That is indeed a rather epic recipe!

  37. 41

    You are so cute!! These bars look awesome.

  38. 42

    I love this version of these bars! And you’re adorable with your pictures. Good luck in the next round :-)

  39. 43

    These look scrumptious… especially since I have a lot of leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving dinner that are just begging to get eaten. :) Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Best of luck. You’ve got my vote!

  40. 44

    For entertainment value and a dang tasty looking recipe, you get two thumbs up & my vote. :-)

  41. 45

    Any blog post with the words “drizzle” and “caramel” in one sentence has my vote, the rest of it was pretty good too. Also, I share adoration for your apron. Good luck this week!

    Lick My Spoon

  42. 46

    These look so good! You did a great job with your post too! :-)

  43. 47

    Anne. you are awesome.

    i really liked that you included the recipe again, all together, at the bottom. That is VERY helpful for readers who like to copy and paste to try cooking it themselves.

    if i could vote for you twice – i would.

    the next food blog star should do things FOR THEIR READERS. the idea is that you get as many people as possible to want to cook your recipe. By posting delicious recipes, with a bit of personality thrown inbetween the steps, and thinking of what would HELP you readers BEFORE they ask you questions in the comments, is DEF. doing this! (that tip about the whole wheat flour is VERY helpful! thanks!)

    Good luck, my friend!

  44. 48

    Yes Anne, you got all my attention ;)
    Thanks for this great topic with great photos.

    You looks like sweet queen, and have very funny spirit.

  45. 49

    I love how bright and engaging this post is! Nice use of color! You have a vote from me!

  46. 50

    I’m sighing because I have no sweet treats in the house and I have just seen these bars. Unfortunately it will be tomorrow before I can do anything about my sweet-less situation. Meanwhile I will just have to drool… :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] to vote for round 4 of Project Food Blog! If you haven’t had a chance to check out my entry post, Cranberry Caramel Date Bars, yet, please do so I would be very honored to have one of your votes! Share and […]

  2. […] 1 C fresh cranberries (leftover from my Cranberry Caramel Date Bars!) […]

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