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cranberry bars on a plate
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4.55 from 20 votes

Cranberry Bars with White Chocolate Drizzle

With a shortbread cookie-like layer on the bottom and a not-too-sweet cranberry topping, these Cranberry Bars are a fabulous make-aheadable seasonal dessert.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bars, chocolate, cookies, cranberries, cranberry, cranberry bars
Servings: 12 bars
Calories: 239kcal



For the shortbread base:

  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour

For the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries frozen or fresh
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup light brown sugar divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup white candy melts or white chocolate for the drizzle


  • Cut two strips of parchment paper as wide as the inside of your baking dish, but make the strips long enough so that they'll hang up over the edge by a wee bit. For an 8 x 8 baking dish, you'll need two strips 8" wide and about 15" long, or longer depending on how high the sides are of your baking pan.
  • Lay the strips crosswise in the bottom of your baking dish. You're going to bake the bottom layer on top of the parchment strips so you can remove the cranberry bars easily from the pan.

For the shortbread layer:

  • Using a pastry blender or a fork, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the butter is in smallish chunks. I get into the bowl with very clean fingers and use my hands to break up the butter. You want this mixture to be coarse and crumbly with visible flecks of butter.
  • Press the crumb layer into the bottom of the baking dish. I use an offset spatula and it makes this job so easy.
  • Bake the bottom layer on the middle rack in a preheated 350-F oven for 15-20 minutes or until it is lightly golden brown.

To make the topping:

  • Add the cranberries to a small pot and add 1/4 cup of the light brown sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring well, until the cranberries have popped. Set this mixture aside to cool.
  • Add the eggs to a large bowl and using electric beaters, whip the eggs until light and frothy. Add the rest of the light brown sugar and vanilla and continue mixing until it's all blended.
  • Add the flour and baking powder and salt. Mix until just combined.
  • Add the cooled cranberry mixture to the batter and use a spatula to blend it but don't over-mix.
  • Pour this batter on top of the cooked cookie base. Bake at 350-F for an additional 35-40 minutes or until the top is brown and set - it should have very little jiggle when you shake the pan.
  • Let the bars cool, then melt your candy melts as per the directions on the package. Add the melted candy to a small zipper-top baggie and cut the very itsy bitsy tip off one of the corners. Squeeze the candy melts out the hole in a drizzle over the top of the cooled Cranberry Bars.


The nutritional values for the drizzle are not included in this recipe because they could vary depending on if you use white candy melts or white chocolate.


Serving: 1bar | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 151mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 283IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg