Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cranberry Macadamia Bars

Aloha Friends!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we're rolling full steam ahead towards Christmas and (gasp!) 2015.   I've had family visiting over the past two and a half weeks - great fun where we ate, drank and saw all the things.  My Maui  Eats List has gotten longer and longer.

I went back to work on Friday as a feeble attempt to get back in post-vacation frame of mind.   Fortunately I have this weekend to recover from that one day.   After walking to brunch and then going out for gelato, I took mom to the airport yesterday so she could start her journey back to winter (in the form of Western Illinois).    

I made these cranberry bars on Black Friday.    Black Friday is not as big of a thing since we're on a small island, but all the shops and big box stores were open and ready  to take your money.   It was raining and so we put up my Christmas tree and had some mai tais.    Mom was committed to perfecting the mai tai while on vacation and my sister and I were her willing mai tai sippers.  

So if it's winter where you are, and you need to feel a little aloha....make these bars while sipping a mai tai.   You'll be in a Hawaii frame of mind in no time.

What You Need

Base Layer
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter/margarine
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (I used Mauna Loa dry roasted macadamia baking pieces)

Cranberry Layer
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
zest of one orange (I hate measuring zest, so I just go by the fruit)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup whole cranberries (you can chop them if you want, I opted to keep them whole)
1/2 cup coconut flakes

What You Do

Preheat the oven to 350.   Line a 13 x 9 baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl stir the flour and sugar together.   With a two knives (or a pastry blender if you have one handy), cut in the butter until crumbly.   Stir in the 1/2 cup macadamia nuts.     Press this mixture into the bottom of the pan.    Bake for 10-15 minutes until light brown around the edges.  

In another bowl combine the 1 1/4 cup sugar,  eggs, milk, orange zest, and vanilla.  Beat until combined.   Pour over the hot crust.    Sprinkle with the macadamia nuts,  cranberries and coconut.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.   If you want to cut in while warm, go ahead.  Otherwise, wait until the bars cool, pull them out with the foil and cut them into bars.   

Meanwhile in Maui...

We totally made the cinnamon roll turkeys that were all over Facebook and Pinterest for our Thanksgiving breakfast

And we went on an early season whale watch and saw the whales!

Don't let the busy-ness of the season keep you from enjoying activities and fellowship with your friends, family and church.     The anticipation of Christmas is always my favorite part.  

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