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Cranberry Lemon Bars Recipe

Studded with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, these sweet cranberry lemon bars have a tangy citrus twist people go crazy for!

I’ve never had lemon brownies before (or would they be called “blondies”?), but I decided to try a twist on them and turn them into a cross between lemon brownies and the oh, so popular Starbuck’s cranberry bliss bar. The experiment turned out well. We love them, and think you will, too!

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • These dessert bars can be mixed together quickly.
  • More like a brownie than a cake, they are tender and soft.
  • They look pretty presented on a platter, and would work great for parties and dessert.
  • Cranberry lemon bars can be eaten with your hands and don’t require serving dishes.
  • They freeze well (without glaze), so they can be made & prepared before you need them.

Ingredients

(A printable recipe card is provided at the end of this post for your convenience.)

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • zest from one large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup craisens
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Optional Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Enough milk to make it the consistency you’d like. Start with 1/2 tablespoon and add more as needed.

Instructions for Cranberry Lemon Bars

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan with a sling of parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the room temperature butter and sugar. Cream together on medium high speed (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  1. Add in the fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. The batter will look curdled and seperated, but that is normal. It will smooth out once the flour is added.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the lemon mixture all at once, and mix until just combined.
  1. Stir in the white chocolate chips and craisens.
  2. Spread batter into the parchment lined 8×8 inch baking pan.
  1. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the middle is set and a cake tester in the center comes out clean.
  2. Cool in pan for 20 minutes and then lift the sides of the parchment paper sling to remove the bars. Cool completely before glazing.

Instructions for Lemon Glaze

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon fresh squeeze lemon juice into 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar.
  2. Add in enough milk to be the consistency you’d like, starting with 1/2 tablespoon.
  3. Use the back of the spoon to drizzle on the glaze, or put in a small ziploc bag, and cut a very tiny bit of the corner off to get a small drizzle of glaze to come out.
  4. Decorate the top with diced craisens and very small dices of lemon zest.

Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t overbake the lemon bars! If you want them to be ooey and gooey, you don’t want to leave them in the oven too long. They will be just barely browned around the edges, and the center must be set.
  • Sifting the powdered sugar for the icing seems like an extra step, but it’s quick and so worth it for a nice, smooth glaze. (Here’s a great tip for how to sift icing sugar fast!)

Variations

If you want your cranberry lemon bars to be flatter and more dense like a brownie, omit the baking powder.

Equipment

For these cookies I used one of my favorite kitchen gadgets – my lemon juicer! When I bought it, I was skeptical that I’d use it much. But, I’ve surprised myself and reach for it often.

(Don’t forget to check out my Amazon storefront for some of my favorite kitchen tools!)

Storage

For best results, store these cranberry lemon bars in an airtight container on the countertop or refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you want to store them longer than that, store them without glaze in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Glaze and decorate before serving.

Top tip: Don’t Overbake!

For soft and chewy cranberry lemon bars, don’t leave them in the oven too long. Bake until the center is set.

Christmas cookies just got easier!

To get 12 timeless & trendy Christmas cookie recipes in one handy dandy digital (and printable) e-book, check out our Christmas Cookies Recipes e-book by clicking on the button below for all the details:

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CHRISTMAS COOKIES RECIPES COLLECTION

With a mix of traditional & trendy Christmas cookies, this recipe collection with pictures can help bring back the fun (& simple) traditions of Christmas baking.

Related Recipes:

Cranberry lemon bars are a dessert bar that are appropriate year round, and also make a great Christmas cookie bar option! If you are looking for more Christmas cookie recipes, you might want to check out these. (And I’m partnering with my friend Shirley for today’s post. Check out her Chocolate Turtle Cookies – Yum!!)

PIN THIS RECIPE TO REMEMBER IT LATER:

Cranberry Lemon Bars Recipe

Cranberry Lemon Bars Recipe

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Studded with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, these sweet cranberry lemon bars have a tangy citrus twist people go crazy for!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • zest from one large lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup craisens
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Optional Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sift after measuring)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Enough milk to make it the consistency you’d like. Start with 1/2 tablespoon and add more as needed.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan with a sling of parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the room temperature butter and sugar. Cream together on medium high speed (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Add in the fresh squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest. The batter will look curdled and seperated, but that is normal. It will smooth out once the flour is added.
  5. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to the lemon mixture all at once, and mix until just combined.
  6. Stir in the white chocolate chips and craisens.
  7. Spread batter into the parchment lined 8×8 inch baking pan.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the middle is set and a cake tester in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool in pan for 20 minutes and then lift the sides of the parchment paper sling to remove the bars. Cool completely before glazing.

Instructions for Lemon Glaze

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon fresh squeeze lemon juice into 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar.
  2. Add in enough milk to be the consistency you’d like, starting with 1/2 tablespoon.
  3. Use the back of the spoon to drizzle on the glaze, or put in a small ziploc bag, and cut a very tiny bit of the corner off to get a small drizzle of glaze to come out.
  4. Decorate the top with diced craisens and very small dices of lemon zest.

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