Cranberries and Christmas are practically synonymous. These buttery, crunchy, nutty bars showcase the tart flavour of fresh (or frozen) cranberries.

They freeze beautifully, too. Hands up if you’re too impatient to wait for them to defrost. Yup – they’re delectable, even half-frozen. With vanilla ice cream, of course! 🙂


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Cranberry Bars

The tart, fresh flavour of fresh cranberries provides a bright contrast to the buttery, chewy base and crunchy streusel topping of these bars. They’re delicious all on their own, or for added decadence, top with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream.

  • Yield: Makes 24 bars. 1x



For the filling

  • 227 g or 2 c fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 100 g or ½ c granulated sugar
  • 60 ml or ¼ c water

For the base and topping

  • 160 g or 2 c old-fashioned oats (don’t use instant)
  • 180 g or c all-purpose flour
  • 5 ml or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2.5 ml or ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 227 g or 8 oz unsalted butter
  • 300 g or c brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 100 g or ½ c pecans or walnuts, chopped


Make the filling

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cranberries, sugar and water to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently until the cranberries have burst and the juices are starting to thicken (2-3 minutes). Cool to room temperature (30 minutes).

Make the base and topping

  1. Have all ingredients at room temperature.
  2. Arrange a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F or 325° convection. Line a 9 x 13” baking pan with parchment paper such that parchment extends 2” above the ends of the pan; this will allow much easier removal of the bars from the pan—trust me on this.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour and cinnamon.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (3 minutes). Beat in the egg, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Add the oat mixture and mix until just combined (1-2 minutes). Hold the nuts for now – they’re going to go into the topping portion but not the base.
  5. Press about 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread evenly with the cranberry filling. Mix the nuts into the remaining oat mixture and sprinkle tablespoon-sized pieces over the cranberry filling.
  6. Bake until the top is golden brown, rotating halfway through the baking (40-45 minutes). Let the bars cool thoroughly (at least two hours) before cutting them into 24 pieces. Use the parchment “handles” to remove the bars from the pan.


Adapted from The Perfect Cookie by America’s Test Kitchen.

  • Author: Helen Kain