You know when you go camping or the hot water heater breaks at home or for whatever reason, you don’t have access to a hot, clean shower for a few days? That first hot shower after a few days without one is absolutely amazing, right? In that first hot shower, I think to myself that a hot shower is an incredible luxury that I should never take for granted. I promise myself to be more appreciative. I remind myself that most of the world rarely gets a hot shower ever, and I have access to one pretty much anytime I want it.
A week later, and I’m back to my normal American ways, complaining if the water doesn’t get hot fast enough for my schedule, forgetting to be grateful, not paying any attention to the amazing technology that enables me to have a hot shower anytime of the day.
I want to pay more attention…which is part of why we really try to eat according to the seasons as much as possible. I could go to the store right now and buy some strawberries because they’re J and M’s favorite fruit. They would be so excited for the special treat. But they’ll taste terrible compared to the berries we’ll pick ourselves at Spencer’s next June. Forgoing the trucked-in-from-who-knows-where strawberries in December will make us appreciate the Indiana berries that much more in June. Eating according to the seasons forces us to pay more attention and be more grateful of what’s on our plates and how it got there.
All of that to say that I love fresh cranberries because I can only get them for a few weeks out of the year. I hope that it always stays that way because to me, fresh cranberries mean that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I got my hands on some Michigan ones this year and wanted to make a dessert with them as the centerpiece for some pre-Thanksgiving celebrating with some friends. If you have some leftover cranberries in the freezer, they would be perfect in this. I used Kim Boyce’s whole grain mix and subbed in some local honey to make it a bit healthier, and I think the nuttiness and texture of the whole grains made this even yummier.
cranberry and lemon crumb bars
- 3 cups of whole grain baking mix
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 medium organic lemon, zested and juiced (save juice for filling)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup of ice water (if necessary)
- For the filling:
- 2 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup local honey
- reserved juice from 1 medium lemon
For the dough:
- Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, lemon zest in your food processor and pulse several times to combine.
- Add the cold butter and pulse the mixture an additional 10-15 times until the butter is crumbly.
- With the processor on, add the egg. If the dough doesn't come together after the addition of the egg, you may need to add the water (really depends on your egg).
- For the dough combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Put in the cold cubed butter and carefully coat with the flour using your finger (watch out for the sharp blades). Pulse the mixture 12 to 15 times until the butter is evenly crumbly. Add the egg (and the optional 1/4 cup of ice water) with the motor running and mix until just combined.
- For the filling, add the cranberries, honey, and lemon juice to a bowl and mix until just combined.
- Butter a 9x13 baking dish and press half of the dough into the bottom of the dish.
- Top with the cranberry filling and crumble the remaining dough evenly over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or so until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
- Makes 20 to 25 bars.