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Four lemon cranberry bars stacked on top of each other.

Lemon Cranberry Bars

The tang of cranberries and the brightness of fresh lemon make these bars irresistible. They’re easy to make and boast a great fruity flavor.
Prep Time:15 mins
Cook Time:38 mins
Chilling Time:2 hrs
Total Time:2 hrs 53 mins
Servings:24 bars

Ingredients

For the cranberry layer:

  • 12 ounces cranberries fresh or frozen
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

For the crust:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted

For the lemon layer:

  • 2 large lemons
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature

Instructions

To make the cranberry layer:

  • Combine the sugar and cranberries along with 3 tablespoons of water in a saucepan and zest both of the lemons directly into the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring and continue to boil until the berries break open and the mixture is jam-like. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

To make the crust:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Leave some hanging over the two ends of the pan for easy removal later.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the vanilla into the melted butter, and then pour it into the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together in a mass. Then press the dough into the prepared baking pan to form an even layer on the bottom of the pan and bake for about 18 minutes until dry and golden brown on top.

To make the lemon layer:

  • Squeeze the juice from both of the zested lemons until you have about ½ cup of lemon juice.
  • Whisk the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well combined and then gently whisk in the eggs until just incorporated. Now add the lemon juice and gently stir until smooth.

To assemble:

  • Once the crust is finished baking, let it cool for 5 minutes and then evenly spread the cranberry mixture over it to form the first layer. Then carefully spread the lemon mixture on top of that to create the second layer.
  • Now return the pan to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until the filling is set. Once set, remove from the oven, let cool completely, and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours until firm. Once firm, use the foil or parchment paper to remove the bars from the pan onto a cutting board and cut into 24 squares with a sharp knife. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Use fresh or frozen cranberries, as you prefer. Do use fresh lemon though!
  • Considering these keep for a while and are good frozen, it’s worth doubling or tripling the recipe to make a batch.
  • Use vanilla paste or even a whole vanilla bean instead of the extract for a smoother, richer vanilla flavor.

Nutrition

Calories: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 44mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg