Cranberry Apple Shortbread Bars
Recipe type: Dessert
Makes: 24-30 servings
An easy last minute dessert recipe for Thanksgiving. These cranberry apple shortbread bars are a delicious holiday treat.
  • Dough
  • 530g (~4 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 454g (2 cups) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 240g (1 ½ cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 200g (~1 cup) granulated sugar, separated
  • 15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) vanilla extract
  • Filling
  • 360g (4 cups) fresh cranberries (frozen will likely work, filling cooking time may differ)
  • 100g (~½ cup) granulated sugar
  • 59 milliliters (2 fluid ounces) water
  • 8g (1 tablespoon) cornstarch
  • 5g (1 teaspoon) minced ginger
  • 2g (1 teaspoon) ground nutmeg
  • 340g (~3 cups / 2 medium) chopped apples (I prefer to use a crisp apple like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Line a 13x9 baking pan with parchment paper so that some parchment paper hangs over sides and set aside
  3. Beat butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy; mix in vanilla until well-combined
  4. Stir in flour just until combined
  5. Press half of the dough into prepared baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown; shape remaining dough into a disk and wrap tightly with seran wrap; chill in refrigerator
  6. While bottom layer is cooking, prepare filling
  7. Combine cranberries, granulated sugar, water, cornstarch, ginger and nutmeg in a heavy duty saucepan over medium heat; stir occasionally and let mixture cook until fruit has formed a thick jam-like consistency (cranberries will be very soft but some still whole), about 8 minutes
  8. Remove from heat and fold in chopped apples
  9. Pour fruit filling over crust; remove remainder of dough from refrigerator and use all of it by dropping large crumbs over fruit layer so that the layer is completely covered
  10. Place back into oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until edges are very lightly golden brown and top feels set / firm
  11. Set aside to cool before cutting into bars and serving
Shortbread recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Filling adapted from Blueberry Rhubarb Shortbread Bars
These bars are not overly sweet at all, the sweetness is mostly in the shortbread and the fruit filling adds a tart balance
Store tightly wrapped at room temperature up to two days or freeze for up to one month
Recipe by Keep It Sweet Desserts at