Lunchbreak: Chef Anne Byrn makes Sally’s cranberry spread

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Anne Byrn

To purchase a copy of the book:

Anne Byrn Saves the Day! Cookbook

7:00 p.m.
The Bookstall
811 Elm Street

Sally's Cranberry Spread

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (from 1 medium-size orange)
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped dried cranberries
French bread toasts or favorite crackers, for serving

Place the cream cheese, orange juice concentrate, sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl and blend with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients come together, about 30 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the orange zest, pecans, and dried cranberries to the cream cheese mixture, folding them in with the spatula. Transfer the spread to a serving bowl or onto a wooden cheese board. Serve with toasted slices of French bread.

Do Ahead:
The cranberry spread can be made 2 days in advance and refrigerated, covered. Let it return to room temperature before serving. If you like more crunch from the pecans, rather than adding them to the spread lightly toast them in a 350°F oven for 3 to 4 minutes. Then sprinkle the toasted pecans on top of the spread just before serving.

Big Skillet Chocolate Chip Blondie

12 Tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups lightly packed light brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans(optional)
vanilla ice cream (optional),for serving

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Place the butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. Stir the butter until it melts, then stir the brown sugar into the butter until well combined. Remove the skillet from the heat. Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and stir to mix. Spoon the flour mixture into the skillet with the butter and brown sugar and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and vanilla to the well and stir the flour mixture up and into the eggs until the mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.  Fold in the chocolate chips. Scatter the pecans over the top, if desired. Bake the cookie cake until the edge is lightly brown and the center is still a little soft to the touch, 22 to 26 minutes.  Remove the skillet from the oven.  Scoop the warm cookie cake into bowls and serve it with vanilla ice cream, if desired. Or let the cookie cake cool for about 1 hour, then cut it into slices and serve on plates.

Do Ahead:
To take the cookie cake to a potluck or book club, carry it right in the skillet. Cover the skillet with aluminum foil or plastic wrap for transit. And if you are really thinking ahead, you can bake the cake several weeks before the event, remove it from the skillet, then freeze it well wrapped in aluminum foil and tucked in a re-sealable plastic bag. Thaw on the kitchen counter for 2 to 3 hours.

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