WHITE CHOCOLATE, CRANBERRY AND PECAN BARS (PREPARATION TIME: 50 MINUTES, MAKES: 40 SQUARE BARS)

Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la


I simply love this time of the year. Having studied in a convent school in India, Christmas has had a very special place in my life. Celebrations in school started early December with decorations in the Church, hallways, classrooms and singing of Christmas carols in the morning assembly. Those memories bring a twinkle in my eyes and a big smile on my face.

Destiny has its ways of giving you what you truly desire, and here I am experiencing the beautiful American Christmas, enjoying the chill, snow, hot chocolate and festivities that I has only heard of in songs or watched in the movies.

I have truly adapted the American way of celebrating Christmas with my family. My two beautiful girls are my biggest reason to want to celebrate. Their excitement and love for Christmas motivates me. We have a big Christmas tree adorned with ornaments and beautiful lights in our living room. And we have been baking and sharing with our neighbors and friends. 

Here’s our all time favorite White Chocolate bars, which are perfect for last minute gifts, as they are very easy to make, look beautiful and are so delicious, everyone will LOVE them!

Ingredients (for the bar)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (could substitute with walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients (for the topping)

  • 1½ cups white chocolate chips (I use Nestle Premier White Morsels) – one could use coarsely chopped white chocolate, or any other chocolate
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (again, could substitute with walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries


Steps

  • Preheat oven to 350 deg F / 180 deg C


  • Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan


  • Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl and set aside


  • Beat the softened butter with sugar in another bowl – until light and creamy


  • Add egg and vanilla essence to the mixture of softened butter and sugar, and beat more till all the ingredients have mixed well


  • Now add flour in small batches and mix thoroughly (the batter looks similar to that of cookies, i.e. not runny)


  • Fold in toasted pecans and dried cranberries


  • Now evenly spread the batter in the greased tin using a spatula


  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes (baking time could vary; easy test – look for dark brown edges, and insert a knife in the center, if it comes out clean the crust is done)


  • Immediately sprinkle the chocolate morsels on the hot crust (chocolate won’t melt properly on cooled crust if you delay)

  • Once it begins to melt (about 4-5 minutes after sprinkling), evenly spread the melted chocolate using a spatula


  • Then sprinkle (lightly press, if required) the coarsely chopped and toasted pecans, and dried cranberries all over, ensuring they stick well to the white chocolate

  • Allow the bar to cool for 1-2 hours before cutting it into squares or rectangles






Merry Christmas!

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