Cranberry Caramel Date Bars: A Luscious, Rich Bar Cookie Recipe

Cranberry Caramel Date Bars combine fresh cranberries with caramel sauce, dates, and nuts – ingredients that combined make one of the more perfect holiday cookie recipes. These cookies work well not only at Christmas but also as a Thanksgiving treat, when fresh cranberries are readily available in grocery stores.

Cramberry Caramel Date Cookies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 35 minutes, divided

Makes 80-100 1-inch bars

Ingredients

1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped finely in food processor

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups all-purposed flour

2 cups oatmeal

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ cups dates, chopped

¾ cup chopped walnuts

1 jar (10 ounces) caramel topping or sauce

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F (325º F for a glass dish).

  2. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking pan.

  3. In a small bowl, combine chopped cranberries and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, oatmeal, remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda. Cut in butter, as for a pie crust. Mix well. The mixture will be crumbly.

  5. Reserve 1 cup of crumb mixture. Press the remainder firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

  6. Remove pan from the oven. Sprinkle the crust with dates, walnuts, and cranberry mixture.

  7. Combine caramel topping with remaining 1/3 cup flour. Pour caramel mixture over fruit and nuts, spreading evenly. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over caramel layer.

  8. Bake bars 20 minutes or until set and crumb surface begins to brown slightly. Remove the pan from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Cut bars into 1-inch squares.

  9. Place bars in airtight container with waxed paper in between layers. Store in the refrigerator.

A Special Tip from The Elf

Cranberry Caramel Date Bars are very thick. Cutting bars into 1-inch squares (or smaller) y gives you a large number of cookies from one batch. Because the cookies are so rich, a smaller cut bar is not too small for one serving.

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