Cranberry Shortbread Bars for a Quaint Christmas Snack

Credit: Gerald Lee

Christmas time is almost here! It is the time for forgiveness,sharing and of course enjoying a grand feast of delicious food with friends, family and loved ones. Now, besides the usual fare of roast turkey, pies and puddings, why not this time, you make another traditional English Christmas snack or dessert, whichever you prefer that is healthy, delicious and definitely easy to make.

A Crumbly Delight

These Cranberry Shortbread Bars consist of two layers of crumbly buttery brown sugar shortbread sandwiched together with a homemade cranberry sauce.  You will notice a real contrast between the tartness of the cranberry filling and the crisp, buttery sweet shortbread.

But after storing these bars in the refrigerator for a couple of days, the sharpness of the cranberries softens and blends with the flavor of the shortbread. This is another great recipe to make during the Holiday Season.


a) Cranberry Filling

  • 225g fresh or frozen cranberries, washed
  • 150g castor sugar, if it is too tangy, you may add more
  • 3 tablespoons (35 grams) filtered water

b) Shortbread Bars

  • 260g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
  • 225g unsalted butter, sit at room temperature
  • 75g firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract


a) Cranberry Filling

  1. Put the cranberries, sugar, and water in a medium-sized saucepan.
  2. Place over medium high heat and, stirring occasionally, bring just to a boil. Continue to gently boil until the cranberries soften and the juices becomes thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and let cool while you make the shortbread.

a) Cranberry Shortbread Bars

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.
  2. Butter or spray with a non-stick cooking spray a 9 inch (23 cm) square baking pan.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the salt.
  4. In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. 
  5. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat, on medium low speed, until creamy and smooth. 
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat just until the ingredients are incorporated and you have clumps of batter.
  7. Evenly press about two-thirds (370 grams) of the shortbread onto the bottom of the prepared pan. 
  8. Lightly prick with the tines of a fork. Bake the shortbread about 17 – 18 minutes or until lightly brown. 
  9. Remove from oven and evenly spread the cranberry filling over the shortbread base, leaving a 1/4 inch (.5 cm) border.
  10. With the remaining shortbread dough, using your fingers, crumble it over the top of the cranberry filling. Then lightly press the dough into the filling.
  11. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. 
  12. Remove from oven, place on a wire rack, and while still warm, cut into 16 squares. Allow to cool completely in pan. 
  13. The Bars can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about five days, or they can be frozen. Just warm it up in the oven at 170 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes before serving.

A Sweet and Sour Christmas

After such a heavy meal, these Cranberry Shortbread Bars are just perfect and definitely will be a hit with everyone with its sweet tartness and buttery feel. Definitely a great change after dining on such a heavy meal of pies, puddings, and turkey.

If you want more feel good recipes such as this one, check out some of my recipes that I have shared on Butterkicap. If you have any questions, don’t be shy to ask them via my Instagram account @justinescakesandkueh or at @butterkicap.

Justine Lim

With love for the freshest and natural ingredients, Justine Lim aspires to recreate heritage Malaysian recipes into modern, elegant-looking delicacies. Catch more of her delicious creations on her Instagram profile, @justinescakesnkueh

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