We all find ourselves in a “slump” of sorts from time to time. What do you do to get over that unexpected touch of weekend blues? A trip to your alcohol cabinet followed by a delectable dessert may just do the trick! Now wait wait–we’re definitely not advocates for drowning those sorrows away with booze, nor is it a good idea to fill up on sweets to help push them away. Plus, didn’t we say we’re trying to limit our sweets? Oh well! We’re over it. This is nothing but pure butter, sugar, eggs and a touch of the spirits to put a little pep in your step. We know we’re not the only ones who can appreciate that kind of boost from time to time.
After rummaging through the cabinets and fridge, we were inspired to get our creative juices flowing and have fun in the kitchen. That was more important than the end result. For starters, everyone loves an Amaretto Sour. What if you could eat one? This was the basis for our original creation. It proved once again that rifling through the pantry can not only save you dollars and cents, but also help take your mind away from whatever it is that had you down and out in the first place.
Amaretto Cranberry Bars with Orange Glaze – Serves 12
3 1/4 cups walnuts
1 teaspoon port wine
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1. Chop nuts roughly in food processor. Add wine. Transfer to large bowl, mixing in remaining ingredients until well combined.
2. Press nut mixture flat at the bottom of your lightly greased 9½ x 13 baking pan. (If you want to use a jelly-roll pan, double the ingredients for the crust and cake to ensure you have enough to fill the whole pan–parchment paper works great too, especially when using a jelly-roll pan).
3. Bake crust in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 5-8 minutes, being careful not to burn the nuts. Set aside and let crust cool.
3/4 cup Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, unsalted
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup amaretto
1 cup whole dried cranberries
1. Mix first four ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
2. In a larger bowl, cream together butter and sugar, adding in the eggs and mixing until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add amaretto.
3. Gradually mix in dry ingredients until everything is well incorporated. Toss in cranberries.
4. Evenly spread cake batter over the cooked walnut crust. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. (Cake will not be fully cooked.) Carefully set aside and let cool completely.
2 tablespoons flour
Zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. While cake bakes, beat all ingredients on medium speed for 5 minutes.
2. Brush evenly over cake and bake for a remaining 10 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of pan.
3. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
Juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup milk*
1. Whip together all ingredients until frosting forms, about 5 minutes.
2. When ready to serve, slice cake into bars and drizzle icing over each piece. Top with chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.
(*If you have champagne or sparkling wine, substitute for milk for an extra delight.)
Click HERE for the printable recipe.