cranberry crumble bars recipe

Bars & Brownies Seasonal

Cranberry Crumble Bars

December 20, 2023

These easy one-pan cranberry crumble bars are just as delicious as pie, but without the dish! Made with a buttery […]

single slice of cranberry crumble bar on parchment paper

These easy one-pan cranberry crumble bars are just as delicious as pie, but without the dish! Made with a buttery shortbread crust, citrus spiked cranberry filling and a sweet vanilla glaze, these bars are easy to make and enjoy all season long.

squares of fresh cranberry bars

Ingredients

These bars come together quickly with just a few simple ingredients. Keep a bag of cranberries stashed in the freezer for when the craving strikes! Here’s your shopping list:

  • Flour – regular all-purpose flour makes a sturdy shortbread crust
  • Butter – make sure your butter is at room temperature for best results
  • Sugar – we’re using both granulated sugar and brown sugar for sweetness and texture
  • Egg – just one egg helps bind the shortbread together
  • Cranberries – fresh or frozen!
  • Orange – the zest of one orange really makes the cranberry flavor shine
  • Vanilla – just a splash of high quality vanilla elevates the flavors
close up of cranberry crumble bars with vanilla glaze drizzled on top

How to make cranberry crumble bars

These bars are so simple to make – they’re positively foolproof! Truly, it’s almost impossible to mess these up. I love that the crust and topping are made from the same dough so there’s no need to dirty an extra bowl. Follow this easy step-by-step guide and check out the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.

Step 1: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Step 2: Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Step 3: Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Do not over mix.

Step 4: Set aside about 2 cups of the dough and reserve to use on the top of the crumble.

how to make shortbread crust in a stand mixer

Step 5: Press the shortbread dough into the an 8 x 8 baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use your hands or the flat side of a measuring cup to press it evenly into the corners of the pan.

Step 6: Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Do not overbake.

Step 7: Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crust to cool slightly while you make the cranberry filling.

Step 8: In a large bowl, mix together the cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and juice and vanilla. Pour the cranberry mixture over the pre-baked crust.

Step 9: Use your hands to break up the remaining 2 cups of shortbread dough into smaller, flat pieces. Place them randomly on top of the cranberry filling, leaving space between them for the cranberries to peak through.

Step 10: Bake for about 45 minutes, covering the top of the pan with aluminum foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking time so that the crumble does not turn too dark.

making cranberry bars in an 8 x 8 baking pan

Step 11: Remove the bars from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely before adding the vanilla glaze.

Step 12: To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk (or heavy cream) and vanilla. The glaze should be thin enough to run off a fork but not so thin that it’s transparent. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the bars once cooled.

How to store cranberry crumble bars

Store the bars tightly covered at room temperature for up to 4 days. They may be refrigerated or frozen. If freezing, do so before adding the vanilla glaze. Defrost at room temperature and then drizzle the glaze on top before serving.

sliced cranberry crumb bars topped with glaze

Happy baking!

Print
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cranberry crumble bars recipe

Cranberry Crumble Bars Recipe

  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Yield: 16 squares 1x
  • Category: Bars & Brownies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

These easy one-pan cranberry crumble bars are just as delicious as pie, but without the dish! Made with a buttery shortbread crust, citrus spiked cranberry filling and a sweet vanilla glaze, these bars are a real holiday crowd pleaser!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Shortbread Crust

  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/4 cups (405 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Cranberry Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2/3 cup (66 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Vanilla Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla, mixing to combine well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Do not over mix.
  5. Set aside roughly 2 cups of the dough (losely packed) and reserve to use on the top of the crumble.
  6. Press the shortbread dough into the an 8 x 8 baking pan lined with parchment paper. Use your hands or the flat side of a measuring cup to press it evenly into the corners of the pan.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown and the center is just set. Do not over bake.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crust to cool slightly while you make the cranberry filling.
  9. In a large bowl, mix together the cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, orange zest and juice and vanilla. Pour the cranberry mixture over the pre-baked crust.
  10. Use your hands to break up the remaining 2 cups of shortbread dough into smaller, flat pieces. Place them randomly on top of the cranberry filling, leaving space between them for the cranberries to peak through.
  11. Bake for about 45 minutes, covering the top of the pan with aluminum foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking time so that the crumble does not turn too dark.
  12. Remove the bars from the oven. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely before adding the vanilla glaze.

Vanilla Glaze

Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk (or heavy cream) and vanilla. The glaze should be thin enough to run off a fork but not so thin that it’s transparent. If the glaze is too thick, add more milk. If too thin, add more powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the bars once cooled.

Slice into squares.

 

 


Notes

Store tightly covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.

May be frozen. Freeze before adding the vanilla glaze. Defrost at room temperature before drizzling with glaze. 

Keywords: cranberry crumble bars, cranberry crumb bars, cranberry bars

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