Every girl should have a little brown dress.
She should wear it to one of her best friend’s weddings.
She should learn to salsa and meringue in it.
She should dance with a groomsman in it.
Then, after a whirlwind night of dancing, eating, and sharing the love.
Slightly buzzed. High on homemade wedding vows and mothers who officiate at their daughter’s wedding, and thus are able to wipe the tears from their daughter’s cheeks as they say and receive aforesaid wedding vows. Stuffed with champagne, hot pepper jelly cheesecake, sweet potato casserole, and french toast bread pudding cupcakes (yes, there were cupcakes instead of wedding cake…someone knew I was coming). Itchy with mosquito bites dotted every which way (a small price to pay for being in the vicinity of something so everlasting).
She should fall asleep in it.
Similarly. Every girl should have a stash of frozen cranberries. Maybe not seasonal anymore, but frozen from a time when they were absolutely exploding from every corner of the supermarket. Begging. Take me home. Cherish me. Love me.
So that she can whip them out the morning after the little brown dress was worn. Maybe while still wearing the little brown dress. (Okay, maybe not seeing as how she had to get back to New York from Natick, Massachusetts first. That would be one LOOOONG walk of shame.)
And create something that tastes like comfort food. Something to come home to.
At least for this girl. Who lives and breathes in shades of little brown dresses and cranberry ginger bar bites.
And what to do if you are this kind of girl (or guy) but have no little brown dress with nowhere to wear it to even if you did? Or did not think ahead and stuff your freezer full of bags of cranberries this past November like a crazy person just so you could feel Thanksgiving in June?
Easy. Wear shorts. Use raspberries.
Cranberry Ginger Bars
Makes 1 8×8 pan, adapted from Vanilla Garlic
1 bag frozen cranberries (2 1/2 cups)
1/3 cups plus 3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp orange zest
3 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease baking pan with butter or cooking spray.
2. Place cranberries, sugar, brown sugar, ginger, orange zest, and vanilla in a large pan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes or until reduced and syrup-like. Stir once in a while to prevent burning. Take off heat and cool.
3. Sift together flour, salt, cornstarch, and ginger.
4. Cream the butter with the vanilla and brown sugar. Add in the flour slowly and mix until just incorporated.
5. Press 2/3 of the dough in to the prepared pan. Pour the cranberry filling on top. Crumble the remaining dough over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top begins to brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut and serve.