Yes at long last it’s fresh cranberry season! I love these little tart berries so much, dried cranberries are awesome but it is really hard to beat fresh. They just bring something else to the party and these White Chocolate Gooey Fresh Cranberry Bars are proof of that. Crunchy buttery base topped with almonds, white chocolate, cranberries and then all covered in sweetened condensed milk. I took inspiration from the American treat Magic Bars / Hello Dolly Bars / 7 Layer Bars, sorry they seem to have so many names, but they were a great starting point for these delightful cranberry creations.
A little inspiration.
As I mentioned earlier, I took inspiration from the American treat ‘Magic Bars’. The whole flavour profile was changed but the idea was there. I started with a buttery crust made from digestive biscuits or for my American friends Graham Crakers blitzed to crumbs and mixed with a little melted butter and some ground ginger.
I then layered them up with almonds, white chocolate chips, fresh cranberries and smothered the whole lot in sweetened condensed milk.
Bake them up.
As they bake the condensed milk goes all thick and gooey and takes on a sweet caramel flavour and consistency. The sharp cranberries help to balance out this sweetness perfectly. The hardest part of making these white chocolate gooey fresh cranberry bars is, having to wait for them to fully cool down. And you really do need them to be cold to cut them up, if they are still warm then they are a nightmare to cut up. They will still taste delicious, but they won’t hold their shape so well. But then again if you don’t need to photograph them like I did, dig in!
Fresh cranberries are best for this recipe, they will sweeten slightly and go all lovely and jammy as they bake. And as I said their slight tartness cuts right through all the sweetness balancing out these bars perfectly. They can be a little messy to eat, so a fork is recommended. But you know what? I have also just eaten these straight from the fridge with no problems.
- 10 digestives (9 Graham crackers or 1 and ½ cups Graham cracker crumbs)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 100 grams unsalted butter - melted (1/2 cup)
- 80 grams whole almonds (1/2 cup)
- 200 grams white chocolate chips (1 cup)
- 110 grams fresh cranberries - some halved (1 cup)
- One 397 gram tin sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
- Line a 13x9 inch pan with baking parchment and preheat your oven to 180C / 350F / Gas mark 4.
- Bash by hand or blitz with a food processor your biscuits/crackers into fine crumbs. Or measure out your crumbs if you are using box ones. Mix the ginger into the crumbs.
- Stir in the melted butter until all the crumbs have a butter coating. Spread the crumbs over the base of your tin and press them down firmly to create a thin base.
- Take your almonds and place them in a plastic bag and give them a gentle bashing to break them up a little bit. Then sprinkle them over your bars base.
- Then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the almonds.
- Take about a third of your cranberries and cut them in half and sprinkle them over the chocolate chips and sprinkle the remaining whole cranberries as well.
- Carefully pour the condensed milk all over the toppings until you have a nice even covering.
- Place the bars in your warm oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- You are looking for the edges to have turned a nice caramel colour and have a slight wobble in the centre still.
- Take the bars out of the oven and allow them to fully cool down. If possible leave them overnight to fully set, they will become easier to cut up then. But if you can't or don't want to wait, pop them in the fridge for a few hours and this will help them set a lot quicker.
- These bars will keep really well for 5 days at room temperature or a week if kept in the fridge.