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Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars

Pomegranate Walnut Cranberry Bars are the perfect wintery recipe to add to your Christmas Baking list. A crumb crust is layered with sweet and tart cranberries and topped with a crunchy and crumbly walnut topping.

This recipe was created in partnership with Fisher Nuts.

cranberry bars on white plates

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Disclosure: This recipe for Cranberry Walnut Bars was originally published December 11, 2017 as a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fisher Nuts. When this post was updated December 15, 2020 it was edited for clarity, to add more information and tips for preparing the recipe, and to remove the expired sponsored messaging from the post’s original sponsor.

Cranberry Walnut Bars Recipe

We were really on top of getting the house all decorated for Christmas this year.

We actually started pulling the Christmas decor out the weekend before Thanksgiving because 2020. There isn’t anything else to do, and I thought we could all use a little extra cheer. Especially me.

It felt a little strange at first to be setting all of the Christmas stuff up before we had even celebrated Thanksgiving, but I quickly got over that because I love how cozy the house feels with the stockings hung and the tree up in the living room

For once, I am not going to be staying up late wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, because I’ve been wrapping a little bit here and there along the way as I shop (which also helps deter the known snoopers in our house.

I feel like I blinked and suddenly we were less than two weeks away from Christmas. Only in the last week have I finally gotten into some holiday treat making (the kids decorated these Vanilla Cut Out Cookies over the weekend).

Making these cranberry crumb bars is on the top of my to-do list for the coming week! I first made a similar cranberry bar recipe 8 years ago. However, over the years I’ve tweaked a few things but never posted the new, updated recipe that is still very much a family favorite!

If you’re looking for a simple, festive, and tasty holiday baking recipe to serve at Christmas (for dessert or a Christmas morning breakfast!) or give as gifts, I definitely recommend these cranberry bars!

two plates of cranberry bars next to bowl of fresh cranberries

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Cranberry Bars Ingredients

To make this easy cranberry dessert recipe, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Ground walnuts
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Salted butter
  • Egg
  • Cornstarch
  • Orange zest
  • Cranberries
  • Vanilla extract
  • Pomegranate juice

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

two cranberry bars on white plate

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How to Make Cranberry Bars

Here’s how I make these super simple cranberry crumble bars:

  1. Prepare the crumb mixture (this will act as both the crust and the crumble topping).
  2. Press half the crumb mixture into a parchment paper-lined 9×13-inch baking dish.
  3. Stir together the cranberry filling, then spoon over the crust.
  4. Stir together chopped walnuts and remaining crumb mixture. Sprinkle over cranberry filling.
  5. Bake the cranberry bars until the crumb topping is golden brown.
  6. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the free printable card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

cranberry bars on white plate next to bag of walnuts

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Can I Prep These Cranberry Bars in Advance?

Yes! Something that I love about recipes like this is that the crust and topping mixture is really easy to prepare ahead of time and can be stored in the refrigerator if you like to do prep work ahead of time.

The crust and topping mixture stores well in a resealable zip top bag in the fridge or the freezer. That way when you’re getting ready to assemble and bake the bars it is really quick and easy.

You can also make the bar recipe up to 2 days in advance because they need time to chill before cutting in to them and they store well in the refrigerator.

Can I Freeze Cranberry Bars?

If you prefer to do baking ahead of time, these Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars freeze really well! If you want to freeze the bars, first, you will prepare the bars according to the recipe.

After chilling the bars and cutting them into squares, place them on a parchment paper lined baking pan. Then, you place the baking pan in the freezer and freeze the cut bars just until they are frozen (flash freeze).

Once the bars are frozen solid, just remove them and transfer them to a zip top freezer bag, layering them flat.

Zip the bag, removing as much air as possible. Then, transfer the bag to the freezer where they can stay until you’re ready to sere them (just thaw first!).

cranberry bars on white plate

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Tips for Making Cranberry Bars

I like to line the pan with parchment paper to make it easy to remove the bars from the pan.

You’re welcome to use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe. If using frozen cranberries, there’s no need to thaw them first.

I recommend letting these cranberry walnut bars cool completely, and then allowing them to chill in the fridge for a few hours before slicing and serving them. Trust me, it makes slicing them so much easier!

I also recommend storing any leftover cranberry bars in the fridge – they’ll last longer and stay fresher that way. Just transfer the cut bars to a storage container with a lid to keep them from drying out.

How Do You Cut Butter Into Flour When Making a Crumb Topping?

There are 4 different ways to cut butter into flour for crumb topping in recipes like this Cranberry Crumb Bar. Check out my post about Tricks for Cutting Butter Into Flour if you need help with this technique! The 4th method of cutting butter in flour in the list is my all time favorite kitchen tips, and also the best way to cut butter into flour if you’re wondering “what can I substitute for a pastry blender”!

Cranberry Bar Recipe Substitution Questions

Typically I don’t recommend making a bunch of substitutions when preparing a new recipe. When making substitutes, you won’t know if you don’t like the recipe or if the recipe didn’t turn out due to a preparation mistake, an ill effect from the substitute, or something else.

However, if you do choose to make substitutions in a recipe, I recommend only making one substitute at a time so you don’t have a building effect of multiple poor substitutions.

In this recipe for Cranberry Bars, however, there are a couple of innocent substitutes that you can make without negatively impacting the recipe – substituting a different nut and a different juice.

Can I substitute a different nut for walnuts?

I haven’t personally made any nut substitutions because I like the taste of walnuts in this recipe, but I don’t think there is any reason why you couldn’t substitute almonds or pecans in place of walnuts.

I would not recommend trying to prepare this Cranberry Bar recipe without the nuts because I think it really adds to the flavor when the nuts are included, but if you do experiment with that I’d love to hear about your results!

My words of advice for removing the nuts from this recipe is that you’ll probably want to increase the flour to compensate for the amount of nuts you have removed. Note: I haven’t tested this. This is just my opinion and suggestion.

What Can I Substitute for Pomegranate Juice?

Can’t find or don’t have pomegranate juice? No problem! You’ll still be able to prepare this recipe with a minor substitution without any ill effects.

In this Cranberry Walnut Bar Recipe, I recommend using orange juice, cranberry juice, or tart cherry juice as a substitute for the Pomegranate Juice if needed. Worst case scenario: if you don’t have any juice on hand, you can probably even get away with using water. You will miss out on some flavor, but it won’t affect the preparation of the recipe.

two cranberry bars on white plate

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More Easy Christmas Desserts

‘Tis the season for holiday gifting, and for our family that means homemade candies! Homemade gifts from the kitchen, like these Cranberry Bars, make great holiday gifts for friends, teachers, and neighbors.

Be sure to check out the Christmas Recipes Archive and the Dessert Recipe Archives if you need help building the rest of your holiday treat plans.

Classic Pecan Christmas Turtles meet Chocolate Bark with the crunchy, salty addition of mini pretzels for a delicious sweet and salty Christmas Dark Chocolate Turtle Pretzel Bark.

Salted Vanilla Maple Nut and Seed Clusters taste indulgent but are anything but since they’re packed with all sorts of heart-healthy seeds and nuts. They make a fun addition to a a candy and nut gift box.

Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl Fruit and Nut Bark pairs bittersweet chocolate, white chocolate, almonds, raspberries, strawberries, pumpkin and chia seeds for a delectable holiday treat.

These Caramel Pecan Gingersnap Thumbprints are a twist on the old classic Gingersnap recipe.

Do you like making candied nuts? Cinnamon Vanilla Glazed Walnuts or Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Bar Nuts make great gifts or an addition to any exchange party for something sweet and savory as well as a great snack to have out for all your holiday parties.

Still want more ideas? Check out these 45 Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas if you’re looking for homemade gift ideas this holiday season

What are your favorite homemade holiday treats?

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Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars holiday baking recipe and photo

Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars

Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Cranberry Pomegranate Walnut Bars are the perfect wintery recipe to add to your Christmas Baking list. A crumb crust is layered with sweet and tart cranberries and topped with a crunchy and crumbly walnut topping.

Ingredients

Crumb Mixture

  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Finely Ground Walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Cold Salted Butter, sliced into tablespoons
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten

Cranberry Filling

  • 2/3 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Cornstarch
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • 4 cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Pomegranate Juice

Topping

  • Half the prepared crumb mixture
  • 2/3 cup Chopped Walnuts

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

For the Crumb Mixture

  1. Combine sugar, flour, ground walnuts, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Stir with a wire whisk until well sifted.
  2. Add the sliced butter and the beaten egg to the flour mixture and, using 2 butter knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter and egg into the flour mixture until the butter is in small bits and the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Press half of the crumb dough into the prepared pan. Set aside the remaining crumb mixture for the topping.

For the Filling

  1. In another medium sized mixing bowl, combine the 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and orange zest. Then, add the cranberries, vanilla extract, and pomegranate juice. Stir until the cranberries are coated with the sugar mixture.
  2. Layer the cranberry mixture over the crust in the prepared pan.

For the Topping

  1. Take the remaining crumb mixture, add the chopped walnuts, stir to combine, and crumble over top of the cranberries.

Baking

  1. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the top crumb mixture is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool the pan on a wire rack in the refrigerator until completely chilled (this makes cutting a lot easier).
  2. After they have cooled, cut into 4 rows of 3 bars (approximately 3 inch squares), then cut each square in half diagonally to form a triangle shape.
  3. Store any extras in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

To Freeze the bars:

  1. Prepare the bars according to the recipe. After chilling the bars and cutting them into squares, place them on a parchment paper lined baking pan.
  2. Place the baking pan in the freezer and freeze the cut bars just until they are frozen (flash freeze).
  3. Then, remove the frozen bars and transfer them to a zip top freezer bag, layering them flat. Zip the bag, removing as much air as possible.
  4. Then, transfer the bag to the freezer.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 2 bars
Amount Per Serving Calories 319Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 18mgSodium 101mgCarbohydrates 57gFiber 3gSugar 31gProtein 5g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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