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4 Time Winner

Cranberry Shortbread Bars Tested Recipe

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Cranberry Shortbread Bars Recipe

These Cranberry Shortbread Bars are so buttery sweet with their two layers of brown sugar shortbread sandwiched together with a thick homemade cranberry sauce. I especially like how the cranberry filling with its tart and tangy flavor offsets the richness of the shortbread. This is another great recipe to make during the Holiday season.    


Fresh cranberries are with us for such a short time each Fall and then they are gone. For this very reason you may want to buy a few extra bags and throw them in the freezer so you can fulfill a craving for these Cranberry Shortbread Bars other times of the year. Fresh cranberries have a nice tart, or should I say sour, flavor that pairs well with sweeter ingredients. Since cranberries are never eaten raw, to make the cranberry filling we must first cook them with sugar and a little water. If you have ever made cranberry sauce than this recipe will look familiar. The only difference is that we are using less water as we want the filling to be thick and syrupy. The filling is made first and then it is left to cool while we make the shortbread dough. A portion of the shortbread is pressed into a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan. Then the cranberry filling is evenly spread over the shortbread. The final step is to crumble the remaining shortbread dough over the filling which gives the bars a bumpy cobblestone look. All that is left to do is to wait impatiently while they bake. These bars are delicious warm, if you can't wait, or at room temperature or even cold, if you can. The Cranberry Shortbread Bars can be frozen.

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Cranberry Shortbread Bars: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the wire oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan. 

Cranberry Filling: In a medium sized saucepan, place all the ingredients. Then, over medium-high heat, cook the ingredients until boiling. Continue to boil the filling until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the shortbread.

Shortbreads: In a separate bowl whisk the flour, cornstarch, and salt. 

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. 

Evenly press two-thirds of the shortbread into the bottom of the prepared pan. Then evenly spread the cranberry filling over the shortbread base, leaving a 1/4 inch border.

With the remaining shortbread dough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling. Then lightly press the dough into the filling. 

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven, place on a wire rack, and while still hot, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool completely in pan.

Makes about 16 bars.


Cranberry Filling:

8 ounces (2 1/4 cups) (225 grams) fresh cranberries

2/3 cup (130 grams) granulated white sugar

3 tablespoons water

Shortbread Bars:

2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/3 cup (70 grams) light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract




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