Cranberry Rosemary Bars

makes about 16

recipe adapted from Baked Explorations

For the rosemary dough:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tabelspoon orange zest
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the cranberry filling:

  • 1 12.oz bag fresh cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange zest
  • a sprig of fresh rosemary
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

For the crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed & chilled

Line an 8-inch square pan parchment paper, leaving a two-inch overhang on two sides of the pan. Spray the inside & paper with cooking spray and set aside. 

Make the rosemary dough by creaming the butter with the powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand, until it’s light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, rosemary, and orange zest then gradually add in the 1 3/4 cup flour, mixing until the dough comes together. 

Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and pat it flat into the bottom of the pan using lightly floured hands. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF 

Bake the rosemary shortbread for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Once baked, let the shortbread cool to room temperature.

Make the cranberry orange filling by combining the cranberries, orange juice, brown sugar, orange zest, a sprig of rosemary in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a pinch of salt and cook until most of the cranberries pop and a sauce begins to form, about 6-8 minutes. Reduce the heat and stir in cornstarch. Let the filling thicken up and remove from heat. Pull out rosemary sprig and discard. 

Make the crumb topping by mixing together the 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, walnuts, salt, and butter in the bowl of the stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, until the mixture just barely starts clumping together.

Spread the cranberry orange filling over the shortbread in the pan evenly, then top with the crumb topping and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is browned. Remove from the oven and let bars cool completely in pan. To slice, lift the bars out of the pan by grasping the edges of the foil. Slice into squares.