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Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for www.GfreeCuisine.com and www.CarolFenster.com

Coming October 7, 2014: Carol's latest cookbook, 100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes, wherever books are sold, including pre-order at Amazon.com

Visit Carol's booth at the Annual Food Fair in Denver at the Merchandise Mart on Sunday, August 17.

Cranberry Shortbread Bars for the Holidays

Every holiday season, I walk into my favorite coffee shop (the one with a store on every corner!!!) and salivate over the cranberry bars. I named them “Cranberry Shortbread Bars” since they’re based on my shortbread crust.

Cranberry Shortbread Bars from Carol Fenster

Gluten-free Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Since I can’t even try them (they are definitely not gluten-free!), I rely on descriptions from family and friends to guide me in the kitchen. These bars call out to me every year, so I just had to develop my own version and it appears in my book 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes. Enjoy!

Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Adapted with permission from 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster (Wiley, now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008)

These bars contain all the flavors I love: cranberries, ginger, white chocolate, and orange, so it’s no secret that I covet them every year when I see them in coffee shops. For each dairy-laden ingredient, I offer a substitute but I have a hard time finding gluten-free/dairy-free white chocolate chips so you can use semi-sweet chocolate but the taste will be slightly different.

CRUST

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter or buttery spread

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup Carol’s Flour Blend (see below)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon very finely chopped candied ginger

½ teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

¼ cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped

¼ cup gluten-free white chocolate chips or finely chopped chocolate chunks

Frosting

1 small package (3 ounces) low-calorie cream cheese or cream cheese alternative, at room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon vanilla powder

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped dried sweetened cranberries

DRIZZLE

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon canola oil and enough water to form thin frosting

Per bar: 140 calories; 1g protein; 6g total fat; 1g fiber; 4g saturated fat; 21g carbohydrates; 25 mgs cholesterol; 101 mgs sodium

[1] Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease 9-inch nonstick pan.

[2] Make the crust: In food processor, combine butter, brown sugar, orange zest, and vanilla and process until smooth. Add flour blend, xanthan gum, ginger, and salt and process until well blended. Scrape down sides with spatula. Add cranberries and white chocolate chips and process until blended again. With wet spatula, press batter evenly into pan.

[3] Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or just until edges start to brown. Cool bars 10 minutes in pan on wire rack.

[4] Make frosting: Blend cream cheese, powdered sugar, orange and vanilla extracts, and lemon juice until smooth. With spatula, spread frosting evenly over crust and immediately sprinkle with chopped cranberries. Chill bars at least 2 hours.

[5] Make drizzle: Combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, canola oil, and enough water to form thin frosting. Drizzle frosting in thin line back and forth across bars. Chill again 2 hours before serving. Makes 16 small bars.

Carol’s Flour Blend

1 ½ cups sorghum flour or brown rice flour

1 ½ cups potato starch

1 cup tapioca flour/starch

Whisk together all ingredients thoroughly and store, tightly covered, in a dark, dry place.

2 comments to Cranberry Shortbread Bars for the Holidays

  • Phyllis Plewes

    Thanks Carol for the info re the Gluten Summit. Listened to some interviews. Difficult to understand their shop talk. Enjoyed Dr. Tom O’Bryan. I am rather thankful I must be gluten free. All the best and have a blessed Christmas. Phyllis

    • Carol Fenster

      Phyllis: Glad you could hear some of the interviews. Some were easier to follow than others, but all in all, some really good information. Happy Holidays to you!

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