There I was in the kitchen right after work, itching to bake, having done no prior shopping for specific ingredients. My go-to recipe and cure-all for unpreparedness has been raspberry squares for a few years. Well, since 2010 when my sister brought home the Mountain School Cookbook containing an arguably perfect recipe for this dessert. But this time would be different! I was armed with an abundance of frozen cranberries. I made my own cranberry filling which took a bit longer than using jam from the jar. And by “a bit longer” I mean 10 minutes longer which wasn’t a big deal but you know, more time than scooping jam someone else has made. By making my own filling I had more control over the sweetness. This could have gone disastrously wrong so I’m patting myself on the back for taking a risk with 2 cups of unsuspecting cranberries. The tart cranberries offset the sweet oat crust well. This version of an oat square requires an egg which makes the base just a bit cakey. Modifying the usual raspberry square recipe feels like kind of a big deal; it’s a grown-up version of a baked good I’ve been making for a long time. Since I’m just a few days away from my 25th birthday, at least a few life changes seem in order, right?
Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking
2 cups frozen cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oats (instant oats should work too)
On medium heat, combine cranberries, sugar, and water. Stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, your mixture will go through various stages of liquid/bubbly-ness. After about 10 minutes you should have a thick, jammy cranberry substance. Turn off the heat and let that filling hang out until you’re ready to use it later.
In a mixer, combine butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture on low speed. When combined, add oats.
In a 9×9 buttered pan, pat down about 3/4 of the oat dough using your fingers (don’t pretend this isn’t fun). Spread cranberry filling all over. Sprinkle on the rest of the dough. It won’t really sprinkle so much as blob on. You get the idea.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Top should be slightly browned.