Palma Snarskis and Birute (Ruth) Kascukas were good friends for many years, and Palma baked these cranberry and walnut squares to bring to the gathering after Birute’s funeral in 2008. Birute died just days after her fiftieth wedding anniversary. We added the white chocolate chips for a little extra richness. These are simple to make and are good to serve when you want to add a little sweetness to life.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups dried cranberries (can be chopped)
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
⅔ cup (10 ⅔ tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350®¨F. Cover the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch metal pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with butter or vegetable oil spray.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cranberries, white chocolate chips, and walnuts. Set aside.
- Add the sugar and butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and combine. Add the dry ingredients in three additions to the butter-sugar mixture, beating slowly until thoroughly combined.
- Turn the batter into the prepared pan and distribute evenly, then smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a metal tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool. Flip the cooled bars from the pan in one piece and place on a cutting board or rimless metal cookie sheet. Remove the foil and flip onto another cutting board. Cut into 2 1/4-inch bars with a wide-bladed knife. Place the bars in a covered tin between sheets of wax paper. The bars can be successfully frozen and served at a later date.
Yield: about twenty-four 2 1/4-inch bars
SWEET TIPS: Alternatively, the cranberries can be placed in the bowl of the food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulsed a few times to chop.
• Coat the offset spatula and wide-bladed knife with vegetable spray before using.
• The recipe can be cut in half and baked in an 8 by 8 by 2-inch metal pan. The baker should check the bars at 40 minutes to be sure they aren’t browning too quickly. If they are, cover the bars with a piece of foil, shiny side up. The bars are done when a metal tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Yield: about sixteen 2-inch bars