Spiced Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

A Sweet and Tart Crumble Snack Bar with hints of Cardamom and Cinnamon giving all the feels of Wintry Spice using Fresh Cranberries in these Shortbread Bars.

Spiced Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

Over the weekend, I had more fresh cranberries than I knew what to do with. Personally, I’m not a fan of wasting leftovers so I took advantage of this moment to create these sweet and tart baked bars. By surprise, I had enough to turn what I had in stock into a wonderful midday snack. Most fruit bar recipes I’ve come across tend to call for jarred marmalades or preserves and cranberry is not one you’ll find. If you do, out of curiosity, I’d love to know who’s selling!

Spiced Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

Creating a cranberry compote as the filling is easy and tailorable to what spices or added flavorings you like. I chose to add cranberry’s classic companion, orange, which paired beautifully with the lightly cardamom-spiced shortbread crust. If you don’t have cardamom, cinnamon is a great alternative.

Spiced Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

And if there’s one feature of the bars I absolutely LOVE, is its crumb topping. Much like the shortbread crust, the crumb topping is also lightly spiced to add a little depth in flavor and overall rich buttery goodness. Yet the texture is what really stands out! The pictures here do not give the bars justice in the height of the crumb topping they originally had.

It’s a shame that by the time I moved these bars from the baking pan to the cutting board that I decided not to use for the photos, to the second cutting board and then shifting the bars to look aesthetically pleasing, a good portion of the crumbs fell off…. and of course, into my mouth! No shame in saying. They were so good!

It’s amazing how a crumb topping could have such a softness yet a tender crunch. This is one I will continue to use! And for an additional use of this crumb topping, we can go back to its origin, the New York Style Raspberry Coffee Cake.

Spiced Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

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Spiced Cranberry and Orange Crumb Bars | URBAN BAKES

Spiced Cranberry Orange Shortbread Bars

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  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 9 bars 1x


A Sweet and Tart Crumble Snack Bar with hints of Cardamom and Cinnamon giving all the feels of Wintry Spice using Fresh Cranberries in these Shortbread Bars.




  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (158 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground cardamom or ground cinnamon


  • 2 cups (210 grams) fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (18 grams) orange zest, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon (15 grams) orange marmalade or preserve


  • 1 3/4 cup (210 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (73 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) orange zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted


  • 4 oz (113 grams) white chocolate, chopped


  1. CRUST:  Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil with excess hanging over the sides for easy removal; set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until just combined. Add cardamom and gradually add flour 1/2 cup (105 grams) at a time and continue to mix until a soft ball of dough begins to form. Remove dough from the bowl and evenly press onto the bottom of the pan.  
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden.  Set aside to cool.
  4. FILLING:  In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, bring cranberries, sugar, 2 tablespoons (12 grams) zest, cornstarch and marmalade to a soft boil.  Mash cranberries to help release their juice.  Note: Popping of the cranberries can occur and may splash and could burn. When about 75% of the cranberries are broken down, remove from heat and transfer filling onto a shallow plate to thicken as it cools. 
  5. TOPPING:  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, zest and salt. Using a rubber spatula, fold in melted butter and mix well. Cut through large clumps of butter for a more even crumb. Evenly sprinkle the crumb topping over the cranberry filling covering the entire surface. 
  6. Bake for 35 minutes. Crumb topping should be dry and golden brown in color.  Allow to cool in the pan for 1 hour. Cover and place bars in the fridge to cool for another 2 to 4 hours for the shortbread crust to harden.  Remove from pan, cut into 9 equal parts.
  7. In a small bowl, melt white chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals stirring in between each interval until approximately 75% is melted.  Continue stirring until the remaining chocolate has melted from the residual heat.  Drizzle over the bars and sprinkle with remaining orange zest.  ENJOY!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Cuisine: American

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