Cranberry Orange Bars

 

 I have a holiday party to go to at my advisor’s house this weekend and agreed to bring dessert. I decided on a cookie tray so I hope you all like cookies! I also hope you like cranberries because I have a lot of them in my freezer to use up! Since I am so busy during the week because of work and school, I wanted to get a head start by baking some of the cookies and freezing them until the weekend. These cranberry bars are sweet and tangy. They are also pretty easy to make!

 

Cranberry Orange Bars

Makes about 24 bars

Ingredients:

– 1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

– 1 small orange, zested and juiced

– 3/4 cup water

– 1 cup sugar

– 1 box yellow cake mix

– 1 cup rolled oats

– 3/4 cups butter, melted

– 2 eggs

– Optional: 1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1. You’re basically going to start off by making cranberry sauce! In a saucepan, add the water and sugar. Stir until the sugar is absorbed. Add the rinsed cranberries, along with the orange juice and zest. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the cranberries pop and the mixture begins to thicken. Pour into a bowl and let cool completely (at least 1 hour).

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, add the cake mix, oats, melted butter, eggs, and cinnamon. Mix until everything is well-combined. Set aside about 1 1/2 cups of the mixture. In a 9×13 baking dish, spray with non-stick spray. With the remaining batter, spread and push down into pan, forming a crust.

3. Spread the cooled cranberry sauce evenly over the “crust”. Then, with the 1 1/2 cups of batter you reserved, drop it by the spoonful evenly over the mixture. Then, with a knife or spoon, gently try to push down and spread some of each spoonful so it’s not as thick. You do not need to cover all of the cranberries and try to avoid pushing the batter down into the cranberry sauce. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let the bars cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars (trust me on that one!)!

 

 

Notes:
- If you want to try to make this sugar-free, then you can used Stevia or Splenda for the cranberry sauce. As for the cake mixture, look for sugar-free or no-sugar added cake mixes in your grocery store or in health food stores!

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