Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices and a Christmas Playlist

This year I’ve been in the Christmas spirit since the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I ditched our Thanksgiving and fall decor so fast and bought our first Christmas tree. Ever since we got married we haven’t put up a Christmas tree because we had plans to go to CA or McCall, ID to spend it with family. This year we’re lucky enough to be going to a bowl game and couldn’t be more excited! With that in the plans we’ll be closer to home and I wanted to put a tree up since we’ll actually get to enjoy it. I found the cutest pencil tree, and it fits perfect in our little living room and made it feel so comforting and festive. We pulled out a box Eric’s mom gave us full of ornaments from when Eric was a baby to decorate the tree with. It made me so happy we had those to decorate with, I am so mushy I teared up a little getting to put them on the tree. I just love all the nostalgic stuff the holidays bring about and love being able to make memories of our own now too.

It’s also been feeling super festive around here because like everyone I’ve been listening to SO much Christmas music. I love it and when you only get a month to listen to it you might as well! I wanted to share the songs I’ve had on repeat lately 🙂 some old, some new but all very festive.

She & Him – The Christmas Song
She & Him – The Christmas Waltz
She & Him – A Marshmallow World
Feist and Constantines – Islands in the Stream
The Staves – Make it Holy
Frank Sinatra – I’ll be home for Christmas
Dream a Little Dream of Me – The Mamas & The Papas
Miley Cyrus – Silent Night from a Very Murray Christmas
Darlene Love – Baby Please Come Home
The Beach Boys – Christmas Day
Louis Armstrong – La Vie en Rose
The Drifters – White Christmas (Reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas movie The Santa Claus)
Michael Bublé – Cold December Night

This week I was in need of a cookie recipe for a holiday cookie exchange party I went to. I was on the hunt for a new recipe to try one day while it was snowing out, I had some yummy holiday candles burning (I am OBSESSED with the Bath and Body Works Winter candle.. go buy it NOW!) and I was looking through one of my favorite cookbooks The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for a recipe. These Cranberry Crumb Bars caught my attention and were the perfect holiday bars to make for the cookie exchange.
What could be more perfect than cranberries, orange zest and mulled spices sandwiched between a crumbly cookie? Also this recipe was about as simple as it could get. After I baked them up, I had to make sure I didn’t eat them all because I needed to bag them up and have enough for the party. Plus I knew I’d be coming home with 6 bags of other party-goers yummy treats!  I saved 3 of these for myself and savored each one, they are soo delicious! They aren’t too sweet, have a tartness from the cranberries and a hint of holiday spice. I can’t wait to make them again very soon. Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

If you’re looking for a festive cookie recipe for the holidays I highly recommend trying out this recipe from The Smitten Kitchen’s Cookbook by Deb Perelman which would also be a really great Christmas gift 🙂

Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices

  • Servings: 36 small squares
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

–  16 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, plus more at room temperature for the pan
– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 cup sugar
– ½ teaspoon table salt
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
– 1 large egg

– ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
– 1 ½ tablespoon orange juice
– 3 cups fresh cranberries (12-ounce bag)
– ½ cup sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375ºF

Line the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and butter the sides and parchment. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices. With a pastry blender or fork (I used my hands making sure I kept it broken up) work the chilled butter and egg into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pay half of the crumb base into the bottom of your prepared pan; it will be thin.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, briefly pulse the filling ingredients until the berries are coarsely chopped but not puréed. Spread the filling over the crumb base. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the cranberry mixture.

Bake cookies for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

For small amounts of spices that I don’t use often, like cloves and allspice, I like to get them in the bulk section of the grocery store and get just what I need.

Thanks for stopping by CB EATS, I hope you’re getting in the holiday spirit during this magical time of year.

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xo CB

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