RECIPE: Cranberry Shortbread Bars

Maybe you are making a spiced cranberry sauce for your holiday table? Are you like me and wonder what to do with all the cranberry sauce left over afterward?

I never like wasting food-let alone throw it out. So I thought about the spiced cranberries and my usual berry bar cookie recipes, and wondered if I could use the cranberry sauce in the same manner-and have a fresh holiday treat for my family while using up some left overs.

It worked out great! Whatever your cranberry recipe is, use it on a basic shortbread bar cookie and bake it up! The more complex and spicy the sauce, the more interesting the bar cookie. Play with the spices in the flour to match whatever profile your cranberry sauce had. This one below has some subtle cinnamon and nutmeg to go with the spiced sauce we made. If your sauce is too tart, adjust the sweetness by adding some sugar before using in the cookies.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Shortbread Bars


1 1/2 cups or so of left over cranberry sauce 
(we like this recipe from Williams Sonoma)

1/2 cup of chilled butter cut into cubes 
1 cup sugar 
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt 
1 cup flour 
1/8 tsp. nutmeg 
1/8 tsp. ground cloves 


Line a 8" x 8" x 2" pan with parchment paper

Mix flour with spices, sugar and salt with a fork. Cut in chopped butter and mash with a fork until crumbly texture forms. You might need to use your fingers to also combine the butter well with the flour. Combine until the flour will hold together when pressed. Pour 3/4 of the mixture into the bottom of the pan, reserving roughly 1/4 cup for the top. 

Press evenly into the pan and prick with a fork. Gently bake for about 15 minutes then take out to cool slightly.

Pour leftover cranberry sauce on the top of the shortbread and spread evenly. Crumble up the reserved shortbread dough with your fingers and crumble over the cranberries. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the bottom crust is lightly golden and the top is bubbly. Let set for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.



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