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These Cranberry Bars are made with fresh tart cranberries that are sandwiched between a sweet sugar cookie crust. These bars are going to be a new holiday party favorite!
This dessert bar is super easy to make with a simple sugar cookie base that is also used as the topping, and a no fuss cranberry layer. Flavored with a touch of lemon and drizzled with a super simple glaze. A great recipe to make for get togethers, holiday parties or pot lucks!
Looking for even more fresh cranberry recipes? Give these a try: Fresh Cranberry Pumpkin Bread, Easy Cranberry Sauce, and Sugared Cranberries.
Cranberry Bars Recipe Ingredients
- Salted Butter
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Lemon Zest
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Fresh Cranberries
- Powdered Sugar
- Salted Butter: Unsalted butter can be used but I recommend adding a ¼ teaspoon of salt to the dough.
- Lemon Zest: This is optional but adds so much flavor to the dough and it pairs really well with the cranberries. You can also use orange zest.
- Fresh Cranberries: Frozen cranberries can be used. Thaw and drain them first.
- Milk: Any type of milk can be used as well as water to make the glaze.
How to Make Easy Cranberry Bars
- In a stand mixer or with hand beaters, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.
- Then mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- Next, add the baking powder, baking soda and 1 cup of the all purpose flour. Mix on low.
- Add remaining all purpose flour and mix it in on low just until fully incorporated.
- Take ⅔ of the dough and press it in and up the sides about ½ inch in a parchment lined or greased 9x13 baking dish.
- Add the cranberries to the dough in a single even layer, and gently push them down a bit.
- Now take the remaining dough and break off pieces, flatten it slightly, and add it on top of the cranberries.
- Bake the bars in a preheated 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden brown and dough no longer looks wet or glossy.
- Let the bars cool completely and then glaze.
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk until a smooth consistency. Drizzle over cooled bars and let set so the glaze can harden.
- Slice, serve and enjoy!
Storing Cranberry Bars
Storing: Store these yummy bars in an air tight container either on the counter or in the fridge. I prefer the bars chilled, but they are also good at room temperature.
Freezing: These bars freeze well. I suggest freezing them unglazed. Place the bars in a freezer safe air tight container between layers of wax paper. Label, date and freeze. Bars with last 4 months in the freezer. Thaw on the counter for a few hours or in the fridge.
FAQs About Cranberry Bars
Cranberry bars are a sweet and tart dessert bar with a sugar cookie base and top, filled with a tart cranberry center and topped with a simple glaze. They are perfect for any holiday dessert table.
There are plenty of recipes to make with cranberries from savory to sweet. Homemade cranberry sauce, stuffing and dressings, quick breads, cakes, tarts, pies, and bars are just some ideas.
Frozen cranberries are great for making baked items, like quick breads, cakes, and scones. They are also great for cranberry sauce, syrups and smoothies.
Other Yummy Holiday Desserts:
- Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Apple Pie Bars
- Homemade Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Pie Bundt Cake
- Apple Crisp Pie
- Homemade Pumpkin Pie
- Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
- Easy Apple Crisp
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 12 oz fresh cranberries, about 3 cups
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease or line with parchment paper a 9x13 baking dish.
- In a stand mixer or with hand beaters, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg.
- Mix in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- Add the baking powder, baking soda, and 1 cup flour. Mix together on low.
- Add the remaining flour and mix on low until fully incorporated.
- Press ⅔ of the dough into the prepared dish and about a ½ inch up the sides.
- Add the cranberries in an even single layer and gently push them into the dough a bit.
- Drop slightly flattened chunks of the remaining dough over the cranberries.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are golden brown and the dough no longer looks wet or glossy.
- Let cool completely then glaze.
- Whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk until smooth. Drizzle over cooled bars.
- Slice, serve and enjoy!
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