I’ll be honest. I don’t bake with fresh cranberries that often. I often use dried cranberries – see these white chocolate almond cookies and this cranberry orange bread.

I love snacking on dried cranberries and using them in salads…like all the time. I love a burst of a sweet in a salad, but they are lacking something…the looks. They’re just not as beautiful as fresh cranberries. I am SO glad I decided to bake these cranberry bars up because they’re SO festive, SO pretty and SO delicious.

They’re a bit unusual…In a good way though. They’re tart yet sweet and you can jazz them up in all kinds of ways. You can add almond extract to them, nuts (pecans, almonds or walnuts would be awesome), you could also add some orange zest to give them a zip or you could make an icing/glaze to drizzle on top. I didn’t do any of this. I kept them simple and to the point, but those options are always nice to have.

They’re not a cookie and they’re not a cake…they’re something in between and they’re glorious.

I loved baking with cranberries so much that I have an apple cranberry crisp in the oven this very moment. My house smells amazing…they need to make an apple cranberry crisp candle!!!! Wouldn’t that be insane? I’d buy 10.


  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature (salted or unsalted is fine)
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest from one medium orange (optional)
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen. I used frozen)
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting. also optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch pan. You can also line the pan with parchment paper or tinfoil. if you use tinfoil, grease it well. This will make it easier to pull the bars out of the pan and cut.
  2. Using a mixer, beat together the granulated sugar, butter and orange zest (if using), until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until mixed nicely, scraping down sides of bowel as necessary.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the nuts and cranberries.
  4. .......................................

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