December 08, 2012 01:58:22 PM


CRANBERRY TURTLE BARS were the cookie chosen to represent 2001 in "The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009"

These cookies look really festive and are such a hit wherever I take them. The tartness/freshness of the cranberries is really welcome.

The recipe makes a lot. (I cut them a bit smaller than the recipe says.) Plus, they keep for quite awhile. They are really worth making!
Cranberry Turtle Bars Recipe at
Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 2 hr
Yield: Makes 3 dozen bars
NOTE: I cut the bars smaller than the recipe indicates and get much more. The bars are rich--smaller, even bite-size pieces, are fine.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (not thawed; 63/4 oz), coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups pecans (12 oz), toasted and cooled , then coarsely chopped

2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), very finely chopped

Special equipment: a candy thermometer
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line a 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on the 2 short sides. Butter all 4 sides (but not bottom).

Blend flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor, then add butter and pulse until mixture begins to form small (roughly pea-size) lumps.

Sprinkle into baking pan, then press down firmly all over with a metal spatula to form an even layer.

Bake in middle of oven until golden and firm to the touch, 15 to 17 minutes, then cool in pan on a rack.

Melt butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat and stir in sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel registers 245°F on thermometer, about 8 minutes.

Carefully stir in cranberries, then boil until caramel returns to 245°F.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, then stir in pecans until well coated. Working quickly, spread caramel topping over base, using a fork to distribute nuts and berries evenly. Cool completely.

Lift bars in foil from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 6 crosswise strips, then 6 lengthwise strips to form 36 bars. (See NOTE on bar sizes.)

Melt half of chocolate in top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from heat and add remaining chocolate, stirring until smooth.

Transfer chocolate to a small heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. Seal bag and snip off a tiny piece of 1 corner to form a small hole, then pipe chocolate decoratively over bars. Let stand at room temperature until chocolate sets, about 1 hour.

Bars keep in an airtight container (use wax paper between layers) 1 week.

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