Friday, November 26, 2021

Orange Ginger Bars

Shortbread Bars topped with Caramel, Candied Peel and Crystalized Ginger

It’s the first day of my twelve days of Christmas cookies. As always, I try to make cookies in a variety of shapes and flavors. I try and stick with traditional flavors of the holidays such as nuts and spices, ginger, eggnog, and peppermint. I do have a number of recipes that lean towards British flavors, and even some American recipes call for ingredients that are much more common in the UK. This recipe is one of them.

I found this recipe in a Good Housekeeping magazine from a few years ago. We get the magazine at work and old issues occasionally end up in the break room. This Christmas cookie recipe is one where you make one dough and can then make several different bar cookies by varying the toppings. I love candied peel and crystallized ginger, so it wasn’t a difficult decision as to which cookies to bake!

While these are an American cookie, candied peel is a decidedly British ingredient. You can find it in the stores around the holidays, usually in tubs that are very brightly colored. I ended up purchasing candied peel from Marks & Spencer, a British company, as the quality just looked better. I wasn’t sure about adding chocolate, but it is a nice accompaniment to the strong flavors of candied peel and crystallized ginger. These bars are great but super sticky, so beware!

Orange Ginger Bars
2-1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, cut in pieces

1-1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
¼ teaspoon salt
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup candied orange peel
½ cup chopped crystallized ginger
½ cup mini chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large food processor, pulse the flour and sugar until blended. Add the butter and pulse until a dough begins to form. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Make the topping: in a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, water, and salt. Heat to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the condensed milk and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring so that the mixture doesn’t scorch. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the cooled cookie base, spreading evenly.

While the topping is hot, sprinkle with the orange peel, crystallized ginger, and chocolate chunks, and push the ingredients into the topping. Cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Good Housekeeping

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