The Cookie Carnival is a pressure-free monthly baking group hosted by the wonderful Tami at Tami's Kitchen Table Talk. Each month, Tami finds 2 cookie recipes - 1 regular recipe and 1 kid-friendly recipe - and as members, we bake along as often as we can. It has been a couple months since I have baked along with these gals, but I'm glad to be back. I love this group because Tami always seems to find cookie recipes that I'd never choose on my own. Because of this, I've enjoyed lots of cookies that I never would have chosen on my own!
The recipes for this month were Cosmo Cocktail Bars and Vanilla Shortbread Hearts. I didn't get a chance to make the Vanilla Shortbread Hearts, but we loved the Cosmo Cocktail Cookie bars. The basic idea of the bars reminds me of a lemon bar. They have that classic shortbread crust with the fruited topping sprinkled with powdered sugar, but the lime zest in the crust and the cranberry-orange topping definitely make them both unique and delicious.
I made the crust for the bars in my food processor, so the process of putting the bars together couldn't have been simpler. Despite this, I still managed to forget the 1/4 c. flour that is suppose to be added to the filling, so I was glad to see that my bars set-up in the middle. This may be evidence that these bars are even "fool-proof." My only intentional change was to omit the vodka since my husband had plans to take them to work. I know that the alcohol "cooks-off," but I just felt better leaving it out in this case. I do have a question about these type of bars. Does any one know how to avoid the "foam" that always ends up on the top of my fruit layer? It doesn't affect the taste at all, but I think the bars are much prettier without it.
Try these out and check out Tami's blog in the next couple days for the February cookie round-up! I know that we'll be making them again (with the correct amount of flour this time) next time I need to bring a dessert.
Cosmo Cocktail Cookie Bars
Adapted from the McCormick website
2-1/4 c. flour, divided
2/3 c. powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp. lime zest
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces
4 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 can (6 oz) frozen cranberry juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. McCormick's orange extract
1 Tbsp. vodka (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with a piece of foil that hangs over the edges to create "handles." Spray with cooking spray and set aside.
Add 2 c. flour, powdered sugar, lime zest, and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the pieces of butter in one at a time and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press the mixture evenly into the foil-lined pan. Bake 20 minutes or until the edges of the crust begin to turn golden brown.
Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the granulated sugar, cranberry juice concentrate, remaining 1/4 c. flour, orange extract, and vodka (if desired) until well blended. Pour evenly over hot crust. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until filling is set. Cool pan on a wire rack. Use foil handles to remove baked dessert from the pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars.
Yield: 36 bars per recipe (I got 24 bars)