Cranberry Holiday Bars Recipe!

Fa la la la…cookie baking continues!!!

Well, in this case, BARS BAKING 😀 

I love BARS

A lot of you probably know this already, but, I love bars. They are delicious. Versatile. Adaptable. Efficient. Shareable. Delectable….

These bars are part shortbread, part cranberry, part chocolate, and ALL DELICIOUSNESS!

When I was conceptualizing this recipe, I thought…ok, I want to find cranberry jam to use. So I was browsing some brands online, when it hit me…….

Use Cranberry Sauce!

Do you have an extra jar of cranberry sauce in the cabinet, a spare from Thanksgiving perhaps? If so, this is the PERFECT use for it! And if not, just grab a can of of your favorite cranberry sauce (I used one that came from Harris Teeter I believe, but any brand will work). SO EASY!!!

3 Reasons I love this recipe because:

  1. It is melt-in-your-mouth buttery, sweetness
  2. It freezes & ships well!! Are you sending Christmas cookies or treats to loved ones/friends far away/family members whom you aren’t seeing in person? These bars won’t break the way fragile cookies would!! 
  3. If you don’t like cranberry, you can use your favorite jam of choice!! I’ve even made them with fig butter. TOTALLY indulgent worth-it drool-worthy.

Cut them into squares, rectangles, triangles– whatever shape you’re going for. I already have these Red Velvet Christmas Bars in triangles (the pics show squares, sorry! I cut each square on the diagonal after pics, to create the triangles :)). Therefore, I cut my Cranberry Holiday Bars into squares. I try to account for all the different shapes as part of my final cookie spread / assortment for gifts! 

I know you guys are busy baking, working, gift-buying, preparing for hosting or holiday travel…SO, let’s bake riiiight now :o)


If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment & tag @thefetchingfoodie on Instagram and hashtag it #thefetchingfoodie. I’d love to see!

Cranberry Holiday Bars
Makes 1 13×9 inch pan of bars (about 48 bars).

3 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
3 egg yolks
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 can cranberry sauce
1 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup additional chocolate chips, optional, to drizzle on top
1/2 cup pecan pieces, optional, to sprinkle on top


1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9in pan with foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Set it aside.

2) In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a large bowl with a handheld mixer) beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on a medium-high speed. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed. You want to cream the butter and sugars together, which will result in a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

3) Add in the vanilla extract, egg yolks, and salt. Beat again on a medium speed until they’re fully incorporated.

4) Turn the mixer to its lowest speed, and slowly add in the flour and baking powder. Keep the mixer going until most of the flour streaks disappear. 

5) Ok, all done with the mixer! Use a wooden spoon or a spatula to fold the batter together gently, until the flour is fully incorporated.

6) Spread about 2/3 of the mixture into your prepared pan. It’ll be a very soft batter, but it will spread! Just use small strokes and as much patience as you can muster 🙂

7) Now, spread the cranberry sauce over buttery mixture layer. I put the cranberry sauce into a separate bowl first and used a spoon to break it up, so it wasn’t so molded. 

8) Sprinkle the 1 cup of chocolate chips over the cranberry sauce.

9) Finally, take the remaining 1/3 of batter and drop it in small dollops over the surface of the bars. Use a knife or spatula to spread the dollops towards one another. It will not and does not need to fully cover the cranberry sauce / chocolate layer. 

10) Bake the bars in your oven for about 30 minutes, or until the edges and top are a beautiful light golden brown.

11) Allow the bars to cool in the pan on a hotpad or wire cooling rack.

12) Melt the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. I use the microwave. It takes about 2 minutes, but give them a stir every 30 seconds to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.

13) Using a fork, drizzle the melted chocolate back and forth over the top of the bars. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the melty chocolate!

Look at the DRIZZLE!

Finally, cut into the shapes you desire!!

These will become a new favorite for you and your family, promise!! (or at least, I hope they will!) 🙂

Happy Baking loves!!

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