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.

bar in the air

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.

I won’t tell.

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

Shortbread Crust
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.

These were so gingery delicious that I am submitting them to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted by Anh from Food Lover’s Journey!

Speaking of hosting…

upclose bars

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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84 Responses to Cranberry Ginger Bars

  1. These bars looks absolutely delicious! Would love to have one bite right now 😀

  2. Pierce says:

    I very much like your recipes, love your writing style and wow, the photos always have my mouth watering!

  3. saveur says:

    This looks great! Now I know what to do with my frozen cranberries… need. room. in. the. freezer!

  4. These bars looks so very yummy!

  5. Barbara says:

    There’s just something about a bar, Joanne. I much prefer them to cookies! Love this combo of ginger and cranberries. Yummy on that crunchy topping too!

  6. Simply Life says:

    ha, sounds like a fun wedding and delicious dessert!

  7. Brown is the new black. I’ve noticed that. I’m a brown girl myself.

    The bars, look awesome. Ginger, interesting and not expected. I need to try these.

  8. looks very yum and crunchy

  9. Giovanna says:

    French toast bread pudding cupcakes! MMMmmmm, can you re-create them? To be honest with you, I think these would be great with any berry! They look wonderfully sinful : ) I love the crumbled leftover dough on top.

    Our family watches our wedding video every year at our anniversary, it’s so much fun. I used to be so against getting married, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me and if I had it to do over, I would have gotten married to him earlier
    : )

  10. U forget a very v important point here:-)
    MAy i add please???
    Every Girl should have access to a blog like Eats well with others, to be humored , to have a ghood laugh over coffee and cookies and deliciousness over goodies and ingredients she cant pronounce but love:-))lol
    And lap up all the creativity here and be inspired and be introduced to some of the best things in life..for eg, Greece love coming up soonn…jus one of the many examples…
    Loving these bars …they are gorgeous…..
    and i could dig in rite away…sigh….

  11. Rachana says:

    I would so love to have one bite right now! A mouthwatering combo!

  12. Well, now I have to go out and get some frozen cranberries AND a little brown dress 😉

  13. elra says:

    What a delightful bar Joanne, love that combination of cranberry and ginger.

    Greece sounds good, I might be able to join.

  14. Pam says:

    There’s nothing like a frozen stash of cranberries and your bars look marvelous! Love that crust recipe with the ginger! Bet the bars are delicious!

  15. girlichef says:

    Oh, that post made me all smiley and sappy feeling 😉 Loved it!! And I do happen to have a stash in the freezer begging to be used…so perhaps after pulling on my little brown dress…okay, I don’t wear dresses…so, my awesome, breezy linen pants…I’ll make some! =)

  16. Eliana says:

    Now you’re making me wish I had a stash of frozen cranberries because these look super delish!

  17. These cranberry bars look so delicious! It sounds like you had a great time at a good friend’s wedding.

  18. Ameena says:

    I love the idea of celebrating my favorite holiday in June!! I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and until then I will just stare at your awesome cranberry bars. They look fantastic!

    PS – I need to buy myself a little brown dress.

  19. I’m definitely the kind of girl who stashes cranberries in the freezer. 😉 You never know when you’ll need them.

    Have I told you that I love anything with ginger in it? Well, I do… and these bars just look delightful!

  20. I wouldn’t mind having one of these right now!!
    What a cute story to go along with them=)

  21. Julie says:

    can i eat a cranberry ginger bar in my brown dress? i like that idea because if i drop a piece of cranberry it probs wouldn’t stain my dress…


  22. Those look so yummy! And I agree every girl should have a lovely brown dress! 🙂 Congratulations to your best friend!!

  23. Lea Ann says:

    Sounds like a lovely little wedding you attended! AND, these cranberry bars look wonderful. Another bookmarked.

  24. Juliana says:

    Oh Joanne! What a nice bar…cranberries, ginger and orange…it is sure a great combination of flavors…love the vibrant color of the bars 🙂

  25. Julia says:

    Looks yummy and sounds like a fun wedding – cupcakes must be the new wedding cake seems to be becoming ‘the’ thing as much as brown is becoming the ‘new’ black 🙂

  26. Amy says:

    Reddish hair/green eyes over here, so I’ve always been partial to brown – black makes me look pasty. Wedding crashing could be my next hobby if there was any chance they’d serve food like these bars. Dammit, those look good.

  27. Dawn says:

    I love the fact that you used cranberries. Sometimes I like to have an unseasonal food just to bring back memories or remind me of the holidays.

  28. Suman Singh says:

    these cranberry bar looks the beautiful color of cranberries..yummie!

  29. Megan B says:

    These look so good. I need to buy me a little brown dress and mix me up a batch!

  30. Superchef says:

    cranberry and ginger – i think im gonna love that combination!!

  31. Faith says:

    French toast bread pudding cupcakes? They sound amazing! (Do we get to hear more? 🙂 )

    These bars look incredible too — I actually do have frozen cranberries, lol! Now all I need is a little brown dress. 😉

  32. Erica says:

    That sounds and looks really delicious.. !!!Love the combo (cranberry-ginger).

  33. Kim says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time at the wedding! These bars look amazing and addictive all at the same time. I have a huge crush on ginger lately.

  34. Ms. Meanie says:

    Cute post Joanne! These bars look awesome too.

  35. RamblingTart says:

    Now I want a little brown dress. 🙂 These bars look fantastic, Joanne! I never thought of pairing ginger and cranberries, but it’s inspired!!! 🙂 Lovely job, dear lady! 🙂

  36. Chris says:

    When I wear a little brown dress people laugh at me….. 😉

    You doing cranberries, me cooking turkey…it’s global warming, I tell ya!

  37. Cara says:

    You might not believe me, but I DO have a frozen cranberry stash. And it’s a big one. I need to get on a mission to use those up before they’re seasonal again, huh? And something else you may not believe – you were stompin’ around my turf and should have hollered at me!

  38. Deborah says:

    What a great version of comfort food!!

  39. Mari says:

    I want to see a picture of you in your little brown dress =)

    I am so upset with myself for not buying extra cranberries this winter and freezing them but now I know for future reference lol

  40. Bridgett says:

    I have both frozen cranberries AND the little brown dress so I think I am set! These little beauties must have been divine. You are so talented, my friend.

  41. The wedding sounds lovely – and the food impressive! I like the idea of cupcakes instead of cake. These bars are irresistible! You really make me wish I had cranberries!

  42. Esi says:

    Great bars! I just made something similar with blueberries

  43. theUngourmet says:

    I’ve been thinking about buying a dress. I’ll have to see if I can find a nice brown one. 🙂 These bars look awesome and the wedding sounds so sweet and memorable! I can imagine that hot pepper jelly cheesecake tasted amazing too! I have some hot fruit jellies on my counter right now. Hmmmm.

  44. I have a bag of frozen cranberries! This sounds amazing!

  45. tigerfish says:

    I have not tried any frozen berries before, not to talk about frozen cranberries 🙁

  46. Chef Dennis says:

    hi Joanne
    great story about the girl in the brown dress! and I bet she looked beautiful in it! Your cranberry bars looks incredible, we really don’t use cranberries enough, thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe! Hey I have relative in Natick! lots of them!!

  47. Ginger and cranberries…that sounds like a match made in heaven! These cookie bars look fabulous!

  48. Lori says:

    Ah, whipping out cranberries in the middle of the summer. You are awesome, my friend. And fortunately, I was just such a crazy person to stuff my freezer full of them last November. They will be defrosted for these soon.

  49. Kelsey says:

    omg can ur cranberry bars come over to my blog and marry my peanut butter oat bars!! haha and i was gonna make a raspberry bar like this instead of the chocolate filling. THIS IS INSANE!! <3

  50. These bars are so beautiful! All that bright red! And I bet they are wonderfully tasty. I’m thinking the same recipe could work well with blueberries too… I may have to try it!

  51. Mary says:

    These bars look beyond luscious. I adore cranberries and can’t wait to give these a try. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings…Mary

  52. I would have totally balled at that wedding!

    I cry watching a wedding story on TV for gosh sakes!

    Love those bars, I want to make those for my block party coming up! Thanks Joanne!

  53. Great photos!!!

    Congrats on the lavender win giveaway on Sweet Life.


  54. Fantastic ginger bars. Might have to nick that recipe.

    Do you dance salsa & merengue? Just curious.


  55. Kristen says:

    I have to admit when I saw the title of this post on my blog list, I was expecting something along the lines of a gingerbread with dots of dried cranberries here and there. What I found was much better and so much more in keeping with summer. Lovely.

  56. Cranberry bars = guiltess indulgence, they look decadent Joanne and I like the twist…little brown dress…sounds like you had a wonderful time!

  57. oh yum love gooey bars like this

  58. Andreas says:

    While I do prefer to wear shorts instead of a dress, I’d rather have a cranberry bar than a raspberry one.

  59. Karla says:

    Hmmm…pretty inspired right now to a)wear my comfy cotton brown dress with the ruffle around the neckline, b)make a yummy fruity dessert, and c)break out my crappy camera’s manual and see how I can up the anty on my own food photography without spending a dime on a new one!

    Beautiful photos!!!!

  60. Pam says:

    I always have cranberries in the freezer! And darn, where did the month go. I was thinking today that I needed to make something Greek and I only till tomorrow!!

  61. polwig says:

    Yummy but you have me dreaming about hot pepper jelly cheesecake… and what was there about “walk of shame”?

  62. sweetlife says:

    you know me so well, I have four bags of cranberries stashed since thanksgiving, hmm I’d wear yoga pants, great bars yum


  63. Nadji says:

    Un gâteau délicieux. j’aime beaucoup.
    See soon.

  64. Shannon says:

    hehe, i think i used all my cranberries, but the food at that wedding sounds incredible!!

  65. Stella says:

    Yum Joanne! These look delicious, and I understand non-seasonal for certain items. Pickled items, for example, are pickled for a reason. So we can eat them later. Speaking of that, I might make a pumpkin creation soon and post it. I mean, I need to use that can of organic pumpkin before it goes bad…
    Ooh, I need to look at your pizza below!

  66. i do have a brown dress but no frozen cranberries! must get some asap 🙂

  67. ejm says:

    Well rats. I feel robbed; I don’t have a little brown dress! (I do have a little black dress but zero little brown dresses. Maybe I should bleach my little black dress to turn it into a little brown dress…).

    But I do have frozen cranberries AND access to fresh raspberries. What a dilemma! Which shall I try first?


  68. Lynn says:

    Mmm, I can smell the cranberry lusciousness from here. Oh wait, that’s the plum pie I have in the oven. 😉 Your bars look wonderful, though. I like to keep cranberries in my freezer, too, because it’s such fun to pull them out throughout the year for baking. Sounds like a fun wedding, too, by the way.

  69. AHHHHH i want these! =D

    sure, i’ll snap a picture. i’ll try to be sneaky about it.

    i hope he’s really sweet. my friend facebook stalked him and was like, be careful, he’s around a lot of girls.

    so when you gonna TEXT ME!? =Dthat way you get REAL TIME UPDATES! =D

    he’s 6’3” tho. TALLLLL.

  70. I won’t lie to you Joanne. I have a problem. I don’t like cranberries. Always hated them. I am so so sorry. But like you said, we could try raspberries. And that would be a very yummy melty delicious bar treat — as someone mentioned above, bars are way better than cookies. Everyone knows this. It’s just that some people are afraid to admit it. They are afraid to renounce the cookie tyranny and fall in love with the soft, buttery, squareness that is a bar. Love.

  71. PJ says:

    oooh.. i am drooling over your pics! cranberry bars look so yummy and delicious, Joanne.

  72. RV says:

    Ginger and Cranberry is a stunning combination. I am simply loving it. And regarding the brown dress and occassion like your dream.. I would rater wear another dress and invent a occasion to celebrate 🙂

  73. Carolyn Jung says:

    I couldn’t agree more. A few years ago, I started keeping a couple bags of cranberries in the freezer after the holidays, and have never regretted it. It’s like a $20 bill you stumble upon while doing the laundry. It can’t help but make you cheer!

  74. Now that is some sweet tangy gooey goodness if I’ve ever seen any! I keep planning to bake with fresh cranberries every fall and then forgetting until it’s out of season again >:o. Maybe the image of these will kickstart my memory this year though :).

  75. Little Inbox says:

    Hmm…so nice. Too bad that I can’t find cranberry here. 🙁

  76. Debinhawaii says:

    I have about 3 bags of cranberries stashed. 😉 Gorgeous bars–I am especially loving that shortbread crust and topping.

  77. vialentino says:

    Hi Joanne, thanks for ur visit and comment…wow, i am indulge with ur cranberry….looks so delicious and yummy.

    r u a baker?

  78. grace says:

    i’m sorry, i’m having trouble focusing on these delightful bars–the mere mention of groomsmen and pepper jelly cheesecake has distracted me. 🙂

  79. Marisa says:

    Little brown dress you say? Think I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. But these bars look freakin awesome. Lemme repeat that: freakin AWESOME!

  80. Omggggg! Bring this over (along with that zuke & sausage pizza). This is too much! Seems as though the little brown dress is not necessary, so we can all whip these up.

  81. Oh these sound great with raspberries! (Not a huge cranberry person unless it’s jelly and there’s a turkey nearby.) Also can we discuss this hot pepper jelly cheesecake? It sounds insane. The cupcakes too. Hope the wedding was fun!

    I’m in NYC in t-minus 3 days!

  82. Yasmeen says:

    Crans in summers? wish I had stocked more of this gorgeous seasonal berries.Totally love the bars 😀

  83. Foodycat says:

    I don’t wear brown but I am not going to let that stand between me and these lovely bars! They look wonderful. The wedding sounds beautiful too.

    Now tell me about hot pepper jelly cheesecake, please?

  84. Mmm I love the bits of dough on top!

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