Dried fruit is an amazing thing. All the goodness of fruit packed into a potent, portable parcel.
As I was browsing BJ’s one afternoon–sans children, if you can believe that!–I came across a curious bag on the shelves. Craisins…infused with blueberry juice. Interesting. I had been searching for reasonably-priced dried cherries (ha!), but this sounded like something worth trying out. Two fruits with reportedly high antioxidant levels, combined into one? Sure, why not! Besides, they were cheaper than dried cherries anyway.
Once I got them home, I knew I had to bake them into something right away. I happened upon a recipe on la casita inspirada a week or so ago for Dark and White Chocolate Cherry Bars. That was, in fact, the intended recipient of the dried cherries I originally sought. Reading Caitlin’s note that Craisins could be substituted, it seemed like the perfect fit.
Putting together the dough is quick and easy! Spreading it in the pan…not so much. Not difficult, really. Just like any other thick dough, it takes some patience to distribute it evenly in the pan when you have parchment paper involved, too. I popped it into the oven and eagerly awaited the chime of the timer. 12 minutes went by… and the bars still looked like dough. The same at 15. I wasn’t dissuaded–12-15 minutes seemed too short of a time frame for bar cookies anyway–and continued on. At about 27 minutes, they finally looked perfect. (I did bake in a Pampered Chef stoneware dish, which generally takes a little longer to finish baking, so watch yours in the oven and start checking on them maybe 5 minutes before the shortest time is up, just to be safe.)
I wasn’t too sure about them when I first tasted the bars, but they were well-received at my father’s birthday party. The blueberry-infused Craisins take some getting used to, in my humble opinion. Two flavors that I’m still not sure should be combined–though why not? They have blueberry-cranberry juice, after all. Maybe a kick of dark chocolate would have balanced them better…
I’m curious. If any of you try this recipe, let me know what you think of it.
Milk Chocolate Blueberry Craisin Bars
- 1 cup 16 Tbsp Kerrygold Irish Butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup old fashion rolled oats
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup Blueberry Juice Infused Craisins
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar for about 3 minutes so it is nice and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Once incorporated, add the sea salt, flour, and old fashion rolled oats. Beat until well incorporated, then remove from mixer and stir in the chocolate chips and Craisins.
- Press into the prepared 9×9 baking dish, smoothing the top as best you can with a silicone spatula.
- Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan and cutting into bars.