The Bestest Cranberry Bars (ever)

This is cranberry season, one of my favorite seasons of the year. While I still have cranberries in my freezer from last year, I will buy more to fill my reserves.

My mom sent this recipe to me, and I think you'll agree, they are really yummy!

½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temp.                        ½ tsp salt

1 1/3 cups  sugar                                                 1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs                                                                 2 cups whole fresh cranberries

1 tsp vanilla                                                         ¾ cup chopped pecans

1 ½ cups flour, use some of the flour to coat the cranberries

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan

Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar,  beat in eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients, cranberries and nuts. Using your hands, Pat the batter into the pan, the batter is very thick. Bake @ 350 degrees 35 to 40 minutes. Do not bake too long or you will have very dry bars.

Frosting (optional, but seriously, cream cheese frosting makes everthing taste better, doesn't it?)

3 oz. cream cheese,  and scant ¼ cup butter room temp;  1 tsp vanilla extract, approx 2 tsp milk,  1 ½  to 2 cups powdered sugar for spreading consistency.

Beat all ingredients and frost the bars when cool.

I tried a bar before frosting them and liked them plain too, so if you want to cut calories, do so there. I also used unbleached white flour the first time I made them, and will try other whole grain blends next time. I'll keep you posted on my results, and look forward to hearing about yours.