These Cranberry Walnut Bars are one of our family favorite food gift recipes during the holidays!

Need a holiday dessert for friends & family? These Cranberry Walnut Bars are sinfully rich but super easy to pull together. They make great holiday gifts, too!I first made these Cranberry Walnut Bars years ago as part of a basket of homemade food gifts for Pat’s work friends. (It was one of those recipes I actually cut out of the newspaper way back when!) Everyone asked for the recipe, and I knew we had a hit on our hands. One bite, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. 

Imagine a pie filled with candied walnuts, tangy cranberries and a shortbread crust, and you have the essence of these bars. They are both rich-looking and rich-tasting, and they look so appetizing when cut into diamond shapes for a buffet. 

Another reason to love them? These bars can be made ahead of time and keep well for several days on the counter. 

Tip: Fresh cranberries are all over the grocery store right now, so buy a few extra bags and pop them in the freezer. They freeze beautifully and are the perfect pick me up for baked goods during the winter doldrums.

Need a holiday dessert for friends & family? These Cranberry Walnut Bars are sinfully rich but super easy to pull together. They make great holiday gifts, too!

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top down image of cut Cranberry Walnut bars on parchment.
 

 
 Need a holiday dessert for friends & family? These Cranberry Walnut Bars are sinfully rich but super easy to pull together. They make great holiday gifts, too!
Yield: makes 24 bars

Cranberry Walnut Bars

Cranberry Walnut Bars

A great food gift for the holidays!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

Shortbread:

  • 11/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cranberry Walnut topping:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups walnuts (whole, if possible)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed

Instructions

Shortbread:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan with enough parchment paper for a 2-3" overhang on the sides.
  2. Add butter, flour, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut together using pastry blender (or two knives) until mixture looks like small peas. You can also grate frozen butter to achieve the same result.
  3. Pour shortbread into pan and pat down. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Topping:

  1. Combine butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until butter is melted and simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in walnuts and cranberries. Pour over shortbread base.
  3. Return to oven and bake until bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Cool in pan before cutting bars.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 373 Total Fat: 31g Saturated Fat: 16g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 66mg Sodium: 52mg Carbohydrates: 24g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 14g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g