As I went to the grocery store to buy fresh cranberries for this recipe, it dawned on me that this was the first time ever to use fresh cranberries in anything! I’ve purchased the premade cranberry sauce for numerous Thanksgivings. I drank a lot of cranberry juice, but never have I used the fresh kind! So this was quite fun. A learning experience.
I also learned that you don’t want to store them in the cupboard if you’re not planning on using it for a week. Store in the fridge!
What I really like about this shortbread bar recipe is that it has flaked coconut mixed into it. Adds something special to the crust. Hope you enjoy!
Cranberry Shortbread Bars (from Taste of Home)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour ( I substituted a 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 cup flaked coconut (I’m guessing they mean the sweetened kind one makes macaroons with)
1/8 teaspoon salt (I used 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup unsweetened apple juice (I used cran-raspberry juice)
2 T demerara sugar, optional
2 ounces melted white chocolate, optional
1/2 cup sugar frosted cranberries, optional, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Prepare a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan by greasing the bottom and sides with butter.
In a medium bowl mix the flour, flaked coconut and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and confectioners sugar until fluffy with a hand held electric beater. Add the egg and mix again until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat again until incorporated.
Reserve one cup of this, and press the rest into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
While crust is baking, add the brown and regular sugar into a small sauce pan. Add the cornstarch and apple juice and stir until smooth and no cornstarch lumps. Stir in the cranberries. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat, stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the walnuts.
Pour the cranberry/walnut mixture on top of the shortbread crust and spread and level with the back of a spoon. Drop little teaspoons of the reserved raw flour mixture and sprinkle demerara sugar over the top, if desired.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. Let cool.
If using white chocolate, melt and place in a plastic ziplock baggie with a small end cut so that you can pipe the white chocolate out of the bag.
Cut into bars and serve. Enjoy!