Grab & Go Cranberry Crunch Bars

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a healthy on-the-go snack

Healthy On-The-Go snacks are an essential for busy families. Whether you are a mom waiting on dance class to let out or a student suddenly having a snack attack during a long lecture, or just need a tasty break from work, having a handy, grab & go energizing snack can be a game changer.

However, quality store-bought snack bars can be expensive and what’s more sometimes filled with unappealing ingredients like preservatives and excessive sweeteners. Let’s try making our own. As you know, I love a great product and a good recipe challenge, so I have entered into the Cape Cod Select Blogger Recipe Contest.

With premium cranberries as the foundation this recipe is the perfect mix of nutritious superfoods. Protein packed roasted nuts add crunchy flavor and seeds add fiber and heart-healthy fats. Between the cranberries, dates and touch of brown rice syrup there is a perfect balance of natural sweetness. What’s more, both kids and adults will love them as the perfect breakfast on the go, mid-afternoon desk snack, or pre-workout fix. Bake up a batch to have on hand throughout the week.

Bonus: the recipe comes together quickly with things you may already have in your pantry. Toss one of these cranberry crunch bars in your lunch box, brown bag and backpack and be ready any time a snack attack strikes. Don’t ever need to be “hangry” again. ❤

Grab & Go Cranberry Crunch Bars

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/4 cups Cape Cod Select Premium Frozen Cranberries

8 pitted dates, finely chopped

¼ cup brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups assorted unsalted, roasted whole nuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup puffed rice cereal

¼ cup roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

Heat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper or foil leaving a slight overhang. Spray with non-stick spray. Finely chop cranberries in a food processor. In small saucepan, over medium heat, combine cranberries, dates, brown rice syrup, butter and salt. Stirring, bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until mixture is quite thick. In a large bowl, toss nuts, cereal, and seeds. Add cranberry mixture and stir well to coat the nuts, cereal and seeds. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Chill in pan in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until cold. Using the edges of parchment, lift from pan and place on a cutting surface. Slice into bars or squares. Wrap individually in parchment paper or foil and store in the refrigerator.

For more great recipes and cranberry information follow these social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capecodselect/#

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CapeCodSelect

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/capecodselect/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/capecodselect/

And to find a store near you: http://www.capecodselect.com/store-locator/

Cranberry Crème Brûlée Breakfast Pastry

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bursting with cranberry goodness

Some days I wake up with crazy mash-up recipes in my head. For instance, what if my favorite dessert, crème brûlée, and my favorite pastry, a fruit-filled turnover, had a baby? I imagine buttery flaky layers filled with a well-balanced tart jam surrounded by a bit of sweet indulgent cream. And it must have my favorite part of the crème brûlée, that slightly burnt, crispy crunchy top. It’s not your average cranberry recipe, so let’s get started with THE CAPE COD SELECT BLOGGER RECIPE CHALLENGE CONTEST Cran-You-Believe It Category.

simply delicious ingredients

First, this cranberry jam filling with a touch of vanilla. So good you will be eating it with a spoon, but please restrain yourself as you will need every bit of this super-fruit goodness to fill the pastry. Super simple to make, so if you can’t stop eating it just make a second batch. I won’t tell anyone.

The cranberry jam adds such a beautiful tart balance to this dish. Just a mix of cranberries, brown sugar, butter and vanilla simmered until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens up. It must be chilled and can be made a day or two in advance.

And to make this totally easy let’s use ready made puff pastry. Gently rolled and trimmed to a 12-inch square I find a pizza cutter perfect for cutting the pastry into nine 4-inch squares. Top each square with a generous spoonful of cranberry jam and then pinch up those points to seal.

Now place those cute little berry packages, seam-side down in the prepared pan and partially bake them. Remove from the oven and shower each pastry with the crème brûlée mixture. Top with the almonds and back into the oven to finish.

oh that crispy, crunchy top

Serve warm or at room temperature as individual squares with a dusting of powdered sugar or show off that delicious jam inside by slicing into triangles. Either way you are sure to WOW your family and friends with this creative treat.

Cranberry Crème Brûlée Breakfast Pastry

  • Servings: 9
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups Cape Cod Select premium frozen cranberries

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, divided

1 sheet of puff pastry from (17.3 oz), thawed

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 egg

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds

powdered sugar, optional

In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine cranberries, brown sugar and butter, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture for 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Transfer mixture to a bowl (you will have ¾ cup of cranberry filling). Chill filling in the refrigerator. Can be made 1-2 days in advance. When ready to bake, heat oven to 400F. Lightly spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch square. Using a sharp knife or pizza wheel, slice pastry into nine 4-inch squares. Divide chilled cranberry mixture into 9 portions. Working with 1 square at a time, place a portion of cranberry filling in center of square. With tip of your finger, lightly brush pastry edge with some water. Bring pastry points up and over the filling pinching edges to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients forming a total of 9 pastries. Arrange pastries in a single layer, seam-side-down in pan. With the tip of a sharp knife make a slit to vent steam in the top of each pastry. Bake 15 minutes or until just golden brown. Meanwhile, in bowl, whisk cream, egg, sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until blended. Remove partially baked pastries from oven. Pour the cream mixture evenly over the top of each pastry. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds. Bake for 15 minutes more or until a deep “brûlée” golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with powdered sugar, if desired.

For more great recipes and cranberry information follow these social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/capecodselect/#

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CapeCodSelect

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/capecodselect/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/capecodselect/

Enjoy the health benefits of premium farm fresh cranberries all year long. Available in the frozen section of your grocery store cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving anymore.

And to find a store near you: http://www.capecodselect.com/store-locator/

View from Will’s Bench & Holiday Gifts

cranberry apple relish

cranberry apple relish

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but before we head into the dead of winter lets take one last look at autumn. The view from Will’s Bench in the fall is glorious. It is the best time of year to visit New England.

Will's Bench Middlebury, CT

Will’s Bench Middlebury, CT

Who doesn’t like rainbows and a pine forest? I can’t help but think of my boy when I see the sun shining down on the water in such a colorful way. He’s out there, casting a line just happy to be. I can almost see him. There is a scent of pine still on his sweatshirt.

the rainbow shot

the rainbow shot

And to the one who always leaves flowers I wish you peace and hope always, but especially during this holiday season. Thank you.

peace and hope

peace and hope

Whew! I feel much better now that I have put the fall season behind us…and you have to believe that I really do actually enjoy the Christmas season. I miss William terribly, but I have to rejoice in the thought that I had his bright light in my life for 23 years. How lucky am I to have loved such a son. And to have so many in my life who continue to love and honor him, too. William is the gift that keeps on giving.

can't have an empty jar

can’t have an empty jar

Do you love a homemade gift as much as I do? Nothing better than a gift from someone’s heart. Homemade means someone has given you their precious time. It can’t be bought. It’s priceless. So, this recipe for cranberry-apple relish was born because I was feeling guilty about simply opening up a jar or can of cranberry sauce and tossing it on the table at Thanksgiving. Pressed for time I just didn’t think anyone would care about cranberry sauce, but the thought of not doing something homemade for such a special event got the best of me. Thankfully, I got it done. The jar was practically licked clean by my guests and my darling daughter announced it was the best cranberry sauce she had ever eaten and could I make more. So I did and so should you.

honey to your taste

honey to your taste

Cranberry-Apple Relish

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups
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1-cup water

½ cup sugar

1 (12 oz) bag fresh cranberries

1 Meyer lemon or medium-size orange, grated zest and juice

1 large honey crisp apple, peeled, grated

½ cup honey

pinch of Alaskan alder smoked salt or finishing salt of your choice

½ cup toasted chopped pecans, optional

In medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine water, sugar, cranberries, lemon (or orange) zest and juice, apple and half the honey; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring mixture occasionally, pressing cranberries with the back of your spoon against the side of the pan insuring all have popped. Taste and add additional honey to your desired sweetness. (I use the whole half-cup if using the Meyer lemon instead of an orange). Simmer until the mixture is thickened. Cool. Stir in salt and pecans, if desired.

IMG_3991

For a nice gift pour into sterilized jars while still hot. Seal and wrap with a decorative ribbon.