Dessert bars filled with white chocolate chips, pecans and cranberry sauce, a festive treat for the holidays.
I’m not a huge baker and usually do the minimum required for the holidays. Always kolachkes and buckeyes, and occasionally something new, like these white chocolate cranberry bars. They are rich and gooey and festive and nutty. The perfect combination in my book.
Do your favorite grocery stores have cooking magazines each month? Mine do, and I usually look but don’t make anything. But these dessert bars caught my eye and just sounded so dang good. They are my kind of sweet treat, not too chocolatey and overly sweet. They would be a great addition to any Christmas dessert table.
How to make white chocolate cranberry bars
These bars are fairly simple but there are several steps, mainly involving par-baking the base.
- Chop your pecans and measure out and divide the white chocolate chips.
- Make the dough in a stand mixer, reserve some dough for the topping, spread the rest in a prepared pan and bake.
- Mix the reserved dough with the pecans and remaining white chocolate chips.
- Spread the cranberry sauce evenly over the par-baked crust, dot evenly with the pecan mixture and back to the oven to finish baking.
- Let cool completely on wire rack, then remove from pan and cut into bars.
These dessert bars are pretty gooey and crumbly. I recommend cutting on a board and serving from the board to plates. If cut small and cooled completely, they can be eaten handheld.
You can’t go wrong with cranberries and white chocolate for the holidays, this dessert or treat will impress everyone. Enjoy, Kelly
UPDATED: Originally posted in December, 2015, and updated in 2019 with new photos and copy, recipe is the same with minor clarifications.
White Chocolate Cranberry Bars
- 2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 package (10 to 12-ounce) white chocolate chips, divided
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 can (14-ounce) whole cranberry sauce
- Line a 9 X 13 baking pan with foil, extending 1 inch above the sides of the pan. Lightly coat with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350º.
- In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In standing mixer, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed until well blended. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low until well mixed. Reserve 1 cup of dough mixture and set aside.
- Stir 1 cup of white chips into dough in the mixing bowl, then spread dough into bottom of prepared pan. Bake until edges are lightly browned, about 15 - 17 minutes.
- While crust is in the oven, combine reserved dough, remaining white chips, and chopped pecans until evenly mixed. I used my hands, easier. In small bowl, stir cranberry sauce to loosen. Carefully spread cranberry sauce over partially baked crust. With your fingers, dot pecan mixture over top.
- Return pan to oven and bake until set and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Use foil to lift bars out of pan to cutting board. Cut into bars.
*Adapted from Dierbergs Everybody Cooks Holiday 2015