That said, the recipe that I have shared below is one I found online a few years ago. It doesn’t come with any family tradition story or memories, but it has become one of my all-time favorites. It fulfills all my current baking requirements: Quick and easy. It’s moist, and the cranberries lend a lovely tartness to counterbalance all the sweets on the dessert table. You know, that zing in the corner of your mouth that has you reaching for another one before you’ve even swallowed the bite in your mouth!
Although I haven’t ever deviated from the recipe, some fun options to try would include other pie fillings or fruits (raspberry and tart cherry come to mind), or maybe even different cake mixes. Chocolate and cranberries, yum! OOOoooo, go crazy with peanut butter cookie mix with a grape jelly center! Red Velvet cake? Funfetti? I guess the possibilities are endless, even though I love the original recipe as is!
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1 (12-oz) package whole cranberries1 Cup white sugar
¾ Cup water
1 (18.25-oz) package yellow cake mix
¾ Cup butter, melted
1 cup rolled oats
¾ Cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Side Note: This is how my grandmother would make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, which not only worked with the turkey meal, but was also enjoyed as a leftover sandwich spread, dolloped on vanilla ice cream and/or cottage cheese (don’t judge too harshly… she also served lime jello with pineapple chunks topped with a spoonful of mayo).
Back to the cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, melted butter, and eggs. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Set aside half the mixture, and spread the rest into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pack down to form a solid crust, getting it as even as possible.
Spread the cooled cranberry mixture over the crust. Then pinch off pieces of the remaining mixture and place evenly over the cranberry layer.
Bake for 35-40 minutes in the oven until the top is lightly browned. Cool in the pan for about 40 minutes before slicing into bars.