I actually made these bars for a Thanksgiving dessert this year, but they transition right into Christmas. I love making bars because you get so much for so little work. Well, not so little work, but it’s easier than scooping out individual portions, am I right? Just a little slicing action and you’ve got a whole bunch of servings. Such a nice time saver during this busy Holiday season.
CRANBERRY CHEESECAKE SHORTBREAD BARS
These bars start with my favorite, super tender shortbread base and are topped with a creamy, slightly tangy thanks to the sour cream cheesecake filling. Fresh cranberries are simmered with orange juice and zest to make a sweet sauce and then are dropped over the creamy cheesecake filling to make one of the prettiest color contrasts. I think I just started for a good 2 minutes because it was so lovely.
More shortbread is crumbled over the cheesecake and then the bars are baked, cooled, and dusted with a snowy covering of powdered sugar.
When I made these I doubled the recipe and baked them in a full sized sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Lining the pan with parchment makes slicing them so easy. One they are chilled, you can just lift the whole slab of bars out of the pan and then easily slice them. No sides sticking, which is so nice.
- 2½ sticks(1¼ C.) Butter, softened
- 2½ C. Flour
- ⅔ C. Powdered Sugar
- 1 pkg.(8 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
- ⅓ C. Sugar
- ½ t. Vanilla
- 1 Egg
- ¼ C. Sour Cream
- ½ C. Water
- ½ C. Orange Juice
- 1 T. Orange Zest
- 1 C. Sugar
- 12 oz. Fresh Cranberries
- Powdered Sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper(for easy removal of bars for slicing 😉
- Place butter, flour, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix together with a paddle attachment until just combined. Reserve ⅓ of the dough and press the other ⅔'s into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish. Smooth out dough as best you can.
- Bake the dough in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside while you make the cheesecake filling.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the egg, sour cream, and vanilla and beat together until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour over the par-baked crust.
- In a saucepan, combine the water, orange juice, zest, and 1 C. sugar. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Rinse the cranberries and discard any that are not up to par. Add cranberries to the boiling syrup and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cranberries have mostly burst and sauce has thickened.
- Using a spoon, drop cranberries and sauce evenly over the cheesecake. Crumble the remaining shortbread crust over the top of the cheesecake and berries.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheesecake is puffed up slightly and the crumble is golden on top.
- Remove and let cool. Chill for 2-3 hours.
- Dust with powdered sugar and cut into bars.