Cranberry Apple Bacon Bars, yes you head that right! The combination of cranberries and apples is refreshing in itself. Placed in-between a short bread crust and baked into gooey goodness. This recipe is going to be your new favorite fall dessert for a crowd. If you are searching for something other than traditional apple crisp this is a good alternative. Now, you may be wondering how bacon plays into all of this. Frying up a couple of pieces and adding it to the cranberry apple mixture gives a little salty to this tangy sweet.
However, the reviews regarding the bacon were mixed regarding this recipe. Bacon lovers could not get enough of it. However, people who didn’t love bacon were wishing it was without. Leaving the bacon out will not hurt the recipe, so feel free to omit it. Cranberry Apple Bacon Bars are going to be the new hit Thanksgiving weekend!
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 13x9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Enough so the paper hangs over the sides a bit.
In a mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugar until well combined and has a light and fluffy texture. Mix in vanilla.
Stir in the flour a little bit at a time, until combined. You may want to work the mixture with your hands a bit to form dough.
Press half of the dough mixture into the baking pan with your fingers. Try to press out into the pan as evenly as possible. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the edges become golden brown.
While the dough is baking place the other half in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator.
In a frying pan, add the 3-4 pieces of bacon, fry until crispy. Remove pieces of bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Let them drain. Reserve 1 tsp of bacon fat to add to the cranberry apple mixture. Once the bacon has cooled chop it into small pieces.
Combine cranberries, granulated sugar, water, cornstarch, ginger and maple syrup in a heavy duty saucepan over medium heat; stir occasionally and let mixture cook until fruit has formed a thick jam-like consistency (cranberries will be very soft but some still whole), about 10 minutes. At the end add in the bacon fat and stir to combine.
Remove cranberry mixture from heat and add in chopped apples. Folding gently to combine.
Pour the cranberry apple mixture over the pre-baked shortbread crust. Spread out evenly.
Sprinkle pieces of bacon on top of the cranberry apple mixture.
Take the other half of the dough from the fridge and crumble it on top of the fruit layer in large pieces.
Once it is covered place it back into the oven for 35 minutes. It is ready once the top is turning golden brown and the you see the fruit layer start to bubble.
Remove from the oven and let it cool before cutting it up into bars. Also does well sitting in the fridge for 30 minutes or so before cutting into it!