Cranberry Bars with Chocolate Shortbread Crust
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
A dessert bar showcasing the tartness of cranberries on a crumbly, chocolatey shortbread crust.
  • ***For the Crust***
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Scant ¼ cup oats
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
  • ½ cup butter, softened (I used salted butter because it's what I had. If you have unsweetened butter, add pinch of salt)
  • ***For the Filling***
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅜ cup water
  • 12 ounces (1 bag) cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 Tablespoons juice (I would have preferred orange juice but I had an open jug of lemonade and it actually worked well)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ***Extras***
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling
  1. To prepare the crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square pan, line it with wax paper and butter the top of the wax paper. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the powdered sugar, flour, cocoa powder, salt. Add butter, oats and chopped almonds and, using the paddle attachment of the mixer, mix the ingredients on low speed just until a soft dough forms; this will take less than a minute.
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and spread out to the corners. If your dough is too soft, refrigerate it for a few minutes to make it more manageable. I rubbed my fingertips with a little butter to keep from sticking. It's also much easier to push and press the dough out from the center to the corners.
  4. Cover the dough with wax paper or foil and add pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the weights and cover and bake for another five minutes.
  5. To prepare the filling: Combine the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then add the cranberries. Cook on med to medium-high heat until the cranberries pop, about 5-6 minutes. Add the butter and juice and cook for another 3-4 minutes on medium low heat until the mixture thickens.
  6. The crust should be ready by the time the cranberries finish cooking. Pour the cranberries into the pre-baked crust and distribute evenly onto the pan. Place the baking pan back in the oven, raise the oven temperature to 400°F and bake for another 15 minutes. I pulled the pan out of the oven when I started to smell the chocolate in the crust.
  7. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into squares (I cut in 9 squares). Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
Recipe by Lemons + Anchovies at