Cranberry Squares - Rich and Comforting

Cranberry bars in plate

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Ah! This is really my comeback post. I am back people!! For good and more fun....:)

You know that lethargy that overcomes you when you come back from a vacation. I had been pampered much too much in December; no cleaning, washing ... no chores.. not even cooking or baking. I snapped my fingers and food appeared, whatever my heart desired, lovingly prepared by mum or mum-in-law. All I needed to do was clean my plate and ask for more and I did very regally, I must say ;-))! (I also gained some regal girth :O)

Well, anyway, I just got over that hump. That is not to say, I haven't been doing anything; just been doing the basic everyday necessities. Finally, I decided I needed to kick myself back into regular mode (which, includes getting myself into shape!).

Cranberry bar - single serve

My opportunity came when I invited a friend to tea. I love tea btw. I used to a be big coffee drinker, to the point of it being an obsession. Ask Mr. FSK, he has many stories about that addiction. Well, no more. I love tea, black or milk chai. And, I love meeting up for that evening cup of relaxing time, much chatting and sharing. :)

And I thought of Jennifer's Sugar High Friday. So in keeping with the theme of the month, Sweet Comforts (SHF #61), hosted by Kate of A Merrier World, I chose Cranberry Squares to accompany tea.

serve me one

I used cranberries that I had frozen from Thanksgiving when I had bought too big a bag of them. Thawed, they were perfect. Somehow, they got riper and sweeter in the freezer. They were as tart as they usually tend to be. Anyway, they were perfect for these bars. The bars themselves are rich in a buttery kind of way and biting into one just makes you forget all your worries, close your eyes and let yourself be washed away in a sea of yummmm.... :)

It's the kind of thing that you give to someone just to make them smile or bring some sun shine in their lives. I shared some with my neighbour here; she is old and lives alone and she always gives us something or the other when we see her. I just thought of her and so took some over and had a little chat. Felt good :)

Cranberry square gift

Cranberry Squares (Fruit Squares)
(adapted from CD Kitchen)

** Note: I used a 8 inch square pan, so my squares turned out a bit thick. You could easily spread this on a 9x13 inch pan **

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp almond extract
2 cup fresh cranberries or blueberries or other berries
1/2 cup chopped, toasted cashew nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the pan you are using.

In a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggsuntil creamy and smooth. Whisk in the melted butter and almond extract. Add flour and fold until incorporated. Fold in cranberries and nuts (if using) carefully so as not to break the fruit and color the whole batter red.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely (takes about an hour really!). Cut squares and serve.