I've been wanting to make some type of breakfast bar for a while and originally had a more granola-like bar in my mind, but I recently ate a cranberry newton at my favorite cafe and it inspired this recipe. The one I ate had sesame seeds sprinkled on top, but I forgot to add here - oops!
The one thing I have to say about this recipe is that it takes some time - maybe that's just on my part because I can be a spaz in the kitchen, but I would highly recommend making the dough the night before. The stress of baking can drive you mad!
I hope you enjoy!
For the Filling
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup orange juice - I used the juice of fresh Mandarin oranges
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup sugar
For the Dough
- 1/2 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1/8 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- dash of cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. orange zest
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp. orange juice - I used the juice of fresh Mandarin oranges
Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.
With a hand mixer, cream together the butter and orange zest on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer still running, add the yolks one at a time.
With the mixer on the lowest speed, add in the sifted flour mixture all at once plus the freshly pressed orange juice, honey and vanilla extract. Continue mixing until everything is incorporated. The dough will be very soft and wet.
Transfer the dough to a large sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the wrap over the dough, flatten it into a disc, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. You can also do this step the night before.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine the cranberries, applesauce, juice, orange zest and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor. Transfer to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. It will thicken more as it cools.
Preheat the oven to 325° and have a parchment lined cookie sheet ready.
Dust the rolling surface heavily with sifted flour to prevent sticking, and dust the surface of the dough generously as well.
With a pin, roll the dough to 1/4” thickness. Frequently lift and move the dough, redusting if needed, to ensure it does not stick and if any places do stick, slide an offset metal spatula between the dough and the counter to loosen and dust the problem area with more flour.
Use a ruler and a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into several 3 1/4” wide strips. It is easiest to handle the pieces if you cut these strips into 6” lengths. Gently dust away excess flour with a dry pastry brush.
Down the center of each dough strip, spoon out the cranberry filling.
Fold one side of the dough up and over the fruit filling, then roll the log over to cover the remaining portion of dough. Repeat this folding process with remaining cookie bars.
Transfer the uncut bars to the prepared cookie sheet and bake for approximately 12 minutes or until the bars have puffed and browned lightly.