Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars are an unbeatable combination of buttery walnut shortbread and tart homemade cranberry curd.
VINTAGE VIEW ~ these buttery Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars are from TVFGI archives, first published in 2015. As part of a series on the blog I’m reviving some of the best recipes that you may have missed over the years ~ these crumble bars make the ideal holiday snack, and it’s a super useful recipe to have on hand when you’re asked to ‘bring something’. They’re on my personal list of favorites, so I hope you’ll give them a try.
I don’t know what I’m more excited about today, these Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars themselves, or the tangy homemade cranberry curd tucked inside. They’re homey and comforting but just different enough to be extra special, I’m really happy with the recipe. The curd filling is bright and tart, the walnut shortbread crust is buttery and soft, and the topping is, well, nutty. It’s so good, this is a must try recipe.
The cranberry curd is made with my favorite easy microwave method and it turns out gorgeously thick and glossy. If you love lemon curd and lemon bars, you will love these. Cranberries bring a similar tartness along with their distinctive berry flavor, and nothing can touch that color.
Fill your freezer with fresh cranberries while you can!
This is just one of the many reasons to stockpile lots of bags of cranberries now for use through the winter. Trust me on this, I’m going to be tempting you with cranberry goodies in February, and you’ll be upset if you can’t join in…
Most curds start with juice, but for this one I used a puree of fresh cranberries for the base. A little sugar and some eggs, then just about 3 minutes of microwaving and voila. You can also do it on the stove top if you like. One standard bag of cranberries will make two batches of this curd, so you can use one for the bars, and save the other for your morning toast and scones. You are going to LICK the bowl clean.
The walnut shortbread is no slouch, either. I really loaded it with nuts for an extra ‘walnutty’ flavor. The bottom crust and crumble topping are the same dough, which makes it easy. I showered the whole thing with a layer of more nuts just before baking, which gives every bite a little crunch. Bring the whole batch to a party, or a neighbor…or wrap one or two squares in waxed paper for a long day of work or travel. They’re mainstream enough to please everybody, but just different enough to elicit wows. They are going on my personal list of favorite recipes, I adore them.
More recipes that feature fresh cranberries ~
Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Bars
- 1 heaping cup walnuts plus a few extra for topping
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour play around with whole wheat if you like
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 good cup cranberry curd recipe here
- Set oven to 375F
- lightly grease and line a 9x9 square baking pan with a parchment 'sling' so you will be able to life the bars out after baking to cut them cleanly.
- Put the walnuts in a food processor and pulse several times until they are finely chopped. Divide the ground nuts in half, and set aside.
- Put the flour and sugars in the processor and pulse to combine. Add in the soft butter, in pieces, as well as as HALF of the nuts. Process briefly to bring the dough together, until there is no more dry flour left. The mixture will have a coarse crumble texture.
- Measure out 1/2 cup of the dough and set it aside for the topping. Pat the rest of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Use your fingers to distribute the dough evenly. Cover the entire surface of the bottom...if you need a little extra take it from the reserved dough.
- Bake the crust for 15 minutes.
- Mix the reserved dough with the nuts, using your fingers to make a coarse crumble.
- Spread the cranberry curd out over the warm crust. Be careful, the dough will be soft.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the top. If you like you can sprinkle a few more finely chopped walnuts over that.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool before cutting.
- The walnut shortbread crumble dough is particularly wonderful, so if you don’t have time to make the cranberry curd, you could certainly fill this with something else like store bought lemon curd, or jam, etc.
- I like to store these at room temperature, under loose foil. Plastic tends to make them soggy. Bars like this are at their very best the same day.