Even if you never touch the stuff, every Thanksgiving feast requires a bowl of jiggly, vermillion cranberry sauce to accompany the turkey. Its bright color breaks up the table’s beige carbohydrate monopoly, and inevitably there will be someone who will miss the stuff is it’s not there. However, no matter how much you have, you will probably have a lot of cranberry sauce leftover. So what to do with the pretty red relish, whose tangy berries yield such a snappy sweet pop? Make these cranberry walnut streusel bars. They are buttery, tart, crunchy and nutty, and in fact so delightful that you may even find yourself making extra sauce so that you have these tender confections to look forward to. And we promise, you will.
Cranberry-Walnut Streusel Bars
Makes about 16 bars
For the Crust
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cubed
For the Filling:
2 cups leftover cranberry sauce (see Note)
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
- In a food processor, pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until mixture just comes together in one ball. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake until crust is pale golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool. Spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the shortbread.
- To make the streusel, in a small bowl, whisk together the oats, sugar, walnuts, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Blend in the butter with your fingertips, forming pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel over the cranberry sauce. Bake until topping is golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
Note: To make cranberry sauce, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 2 (12-ounce) bags of cranberries, 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1/2 cup water, and 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest. Simmer until berries burst and mixture is syrupy, about 7 minutes.
Etc….Other Ideas for Leftover Cranberry Sauce
- PB & Cranberry J: You knew you could slather leftover cranberry sauce on a turkey sandwich, but the jam-like stuff is also great on a PB&J, or spread on whole-wheat toast with almond butter and bananas.
- Butterscotch Cranberry Sauce: First melt some dark brown sugar and butter on the stove, then stir in the leftover sauce. Simmer until everything is melted and smooth and serve warm on top of vanilla ice cream.
- Cranberry Chutney: Perk up your leftover sauce by stirring in balsamic or sherry vinegar, raisins, grated fresh ginger, and some garam masala. Serve with roast chicken or pork chops.