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Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Karissa Parrish (Ginger Snap)
These Cranberry Shortbread Bars consist of two layers of buttery shortbread that sits between a sweet, but tart, cranberry filling. The addition of cinnamon and honey compliments the cranberries so well, making this a must-bake holiday dessert!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Cooling Time: 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 large bars

Equipment

  • 8x8 inch baking pan
  • Pastry Cutter
  • Mixing Bowls

Ingredients:
  

Shortbread Crust & Crumble:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed (1.5 sticks)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Cranberry Filling:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey

Instructions:
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, creating "handles" that hang over the sides. Then spray with non-stick spray.

Shortbread Crust & Topping:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, and salt with a whisk. Add the cubed butter and use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the flour until crumbly (this will take 3-4 minutes). Then mix in the beaten egg and vanilla extract using a wooden spoon.
  • Press about half of the shortbread crust onto the bottom of the prepared pan using your fingers (you will have about 3 1/2 cups of this mixture). The crust will be slightly crumbly, but that's ok! Just make sure you press it down well. Set the extra shortbread mixture aside (this will also be the topping).

Cranberry Filling:

  • Combine the cranberries, sugar, and honey together in a medium-sized bowl. Mix until the cranberries are well coated and then pour over the shortbread crust, even the extra sugar that is on the bottom of the bowl (you may need to use your mixing spoon to spread out the cranberries evenly). Sprinkle the rest of the shortbread mixture over the top of the cranberries.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, just until the crumble starts to turn light brown and the cranberries are bubbling (mine take about 35 minutes). Allow the bars to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing into bars (9-12 bars are made). Serve either at room temperature or place them in the refrigerator to chill. Both ways are delicious!
  • Store any leftover cranberry bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes:

Baking Pan: Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, creating "handles" that hang over the sides. Then spray with non-stick spray.
Cold Butter: Make sure your butter is cold before adding it to the flour. The cold butter is what gives us a crumbly and flaky shortbread crust.
Pastry Cutter: Having one of these is super helpful for cutting the butter into the flour. If you don't have a pastry cutter, you can also use two forks.
Cranberries: You can use either fresh or frozen cranberries.
Keyword cranberry bars, cranberry shortbread bars, holiday bars