cranberry crumb bars + thankfulness

It's after 6 on Thanksgiving Eve; these bars are made; the pumpkin pies are cooled; I totally forgot to salt the turkey so I'd best do that shortly. It's a bit cliche, I suppose, to write a "thanks" post, but I am grateful to any holiday that inspires me to give thanks.

I am thankful to be here. I am thankful that I am even here to blend flour, butter, sugar and spice and to share it with you. I am thankful from everyone who got me here, either with their generous support or medical knowledge. I am thankful for my health, which is in far greater abundance than it was this time last year. I am thankful that I was able to start school, and that anatomy is now over. I am thankful for family and getting to be close to them now. I am thankful for both old friends and new. Speaking of new friends, I am so grateful for my medical school class, without whom biochemistry would be simply intolerable, and from whom I learn so much every day. I extend special thanks to my anatomy lab partners, who deserve medals for putting up with me for so many hours a week.
While I'm talking friends, I'm thankful to the friends I've known since I was an obnoxious teenager (and  some as a really weird middle schooler), and who have stuck with me all this time. Thanksgiving is even better because it means a time I get to see so many of you again. Also, you should totally move back to Chicago. All of you. And another special thanks to Jen…though we so rarely see each other in person, I depended on her emails and gchats to get me through the awfulness that was 2012, and she still brightens my days now. You should totally read her blog, especially if you like fitness and/or live in New York.

You should also totally make these cranberry crumb bars, courtesy of Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Crust and topping are both crumb. Yeah, basically this is 75% crumb. If you don't think that's a good thing, how is it living without a soul? The cranberries are deliciously tart and jammy.  It's the perfect holiday season dessert. And did I mention delicious?

Cranberry crumb bars
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
My pastry blender was left at my apartment, so I just used clean hands to mix the crumb. Use nicely cold butter to get the best crumb. I've included the weights measurements because I love to use a scale.

for crumb:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cold
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg

for filling:
3 cups fresh cranberries (1 12 oz bag)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan with foil or parchment paper, and butter or spray the foil and sides.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour through cloves. Using a pastry blender or your (clean!) hands, mix egg and butter into the flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Spoon half of crumb into the prepared pan and pat it in.

Using a food processor or blender, pulse the filling ingredients until the cranberries are coarsely chopped. Spread the filling over the crumb in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining crumb evenly over the filling.

Bake cookies for 30 to 35, or until lightly browned on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Eat!

A happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you all!

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