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The CakeSpy Solution to Thanksgiving Leftovers

Belmar native Jessie Oleson lends a leftover cranberry sauce recipe to Patch for the holidays.

Jessie Oleson is the mind behind the popular cooking blog CakeSpy as well as her new cookbook CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. During her to promote her new book, the Belmar native promised to share a giving us some idea what to do with at least one of those Thanksgiving Day leftovers that seems to linger a little bit longer than most: cranberry sauce.

Here's the recipe, as well as a few words from Oleson herself:

The year's biggest eating weekend is over (sigh). But there's definitely some sweet eating to be had from the little leftovers left, as proven by these cranberry nut squares. This is a revamped version of a pecan bar but composed instead with leftover cranberry sauce and the mixed nuts that played a supporting role in so many Thanksgiving recipes. The result is surprisingly addictive: sweet, salty, tart, and buttery, all at once.

Not only will you enjoy eating them, but you'll also feel a sense of accomplishment at finishing some of the slower-moving Thanksgiving leftovers.

Cakespy: Thanksgiving Leftover Cranberry Nut Squares

  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • For the topping:
  • Leftover cranberry sauce (I used a little over 1 cup) or 1 cup or so dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts of your choice (I used salted, mixed nuts)
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
    1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease an 9x13-inch pan thoroughly, and line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper so that the ends poke out on the sides—this will make your life much easier when removing the bars from the pan.
    2. Spread the cranberry sauce evenly on top of the baked and cooled crust, or if you are using dried cranberries, scatter them evenly.
    3. Scatter the nuts evenly on top of the cranberry layer.
    4. Pour the liquid mixture over everything. It will be a thick mixture--try to pour it so that you get even coverage over the other toppings. If needed, use a spatula to distribute, but be gentle so that you do not tear up the bottom layer.
    5. Bake in a 325°F oven (a lower temperature than you used for pre-baking the crust) for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling is lightly bubbling on the sides and looks firm in the middle. Let cool thoroughly--the filling will be soft until the bars cool.

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