New Rule: don’t start baking until you’ve had your morning coffee.
I don’t know what’s in the crust of these. I know what recipe I based it on. But it was 4:30 am when I started to mix the crust, and I ended up with somewhere between 5 and 7 cups of flour, and 1 and 2 cups of butter. Somewhere in there. And somehow, they still turned out to be pure bliss.
Last year, around this time, I made a version of Starbucks cranberry bliss bars. Still, to this day, co-workers come up to me telling me how good they were. But, since I rarely make a recipe twice, I decided to make a jacked up, totally different version of those. Basically the only similarity is that they both have butter, sugar and cranberries. But the outcome, freaking AWESOME! So even though they are very different bars, the outcome of both is unreal fabulous!
The crust is thick and buttery.
The lemon filling is tart and firm, yet gooey.
The cranberry is sweet and chewy.
And the combination of all 3 is simply perfect.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and spray the paper with nonstick spray.
*You don’t HAVE to use parchment paper, but I think it’s easier to take all of bars out of the pan and then cut them.
For the shortbread crust:
Using a food processor, combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, butter, and salt. Pulse just until combined. Dump the dough into the greased pan and pat the dough until it’s flat.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the crust turns slightly golden.
Not completely golden brown, just slightly browning around the sides.
While the crust is baking, make the lemon filling. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Stir in the lemon juice, flour, vanilla, and lemon zest.
Pour lemon filling into baking dish over the hot shortbread crust, and sprinkle with the dried cranberries. Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until filling is set.
*It may take up to 35 minutes of baking for the filling to ‘set.’ When you jiggle the pan the filling should stay still, that’s when it’s ‘set.’
Let the pan cool completely before cutting the bars.
*Dip you knife in hot water to get clean cuts. And clean off any gooey stuff that sticks to the knife in between each cut, that’s another way to get pretty, clean lines.
Sift confectioner’s sugar over bars prior to serving.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container for a couple days, or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Recipe adapted from Merry Gourmet
*These are a great dessert to bring to Christmas parties and New Year’s gatherings. Or to eat for breakfast. Lemon and cranberry, do we need to go over this again? They’re fruit, which IS a breakfast food.