Around the holiday’s the deep freezer in our garage was always filled to the top, half of that space being taken up by pre-made pie and tart shells and of course cookies. I think my grandmother started baking for the holidays a week before Thanksgiving and finally stopping on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning there was fresh coffee cake, rolls, and bread at dinner and of course, cookies, lemon and mincemeat tarts and an occasional pie to end the meal.
Today’s cranberry bars are one of those cookies that you can make weeks ahead of time, they freeze better than most. In fact, the note at the bottom of the recipe reads “you can freeze bars in a tightly sealed plastic container or bag for up to 12 months, to serve thaw 10-15 minutes at room temperature.” Although, I don’t think any cookie ever lasted 12 months in our family freezer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
1 ½ cups quick cook oats
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cups melted butter
1 can of cranberry jelly
In large mixing bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon peel and baking soda. Stir in melted butter and mix well. Reserve 1 ¼ cups of mixture for topping, pat the remaining oat mixture into an un-greased pan. I use a 9×9 pan, but for thinner bars, you can go up to a 9×13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes
After 20 minutes, spread the cranberry sauce evenly across baked crust, and sprinkle remaining dry mixture on top of cranberry sauce. Lightly press into cranberry sauce.
Bake for 25-30 minutes more until top is golden. Cool pan on a wire rack and cut into bars when cool. Makes about 24 bars.