Cranberry Lemon Bars

Cranberry lemon bars are a playfully tart and sweet combination for a festive and beautiful conclusion to your holiday meal. The deep red from the cranberry layer, sandwiched between yellow, is visually arresting, and with cranberries plentiful in stores this season, it's easy to get everything together. The finishing touch of the confectioners' sugar gives a pristine, clean presentation and adds just the extra sweetness the bars need to offset the tartness from the cranberries and lemon.

Pair With

Recipe from NYT Cooking.

Cranberry Layer
-1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-2 to 3 lemons

-Nonstick cooking spray
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled

Lemon Layer
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
-3 large eggs, at room temperature
-Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Set out the eggs and butter to come to room temperature, then start the cranberry layer. Add cranberries, sugar and three tablespoons water to a medium saucepan. Stir in zest of two lemons, reserving the lemons. Heat over medium-high until it comes to a boil, then let boil stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes -- the cranberries should be bursting and the mixture should thicken. Remove the saucepan from heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish with aluminum foil, then spray with cooking spray. Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Stir vanilla extract into melted butter and add to the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated, then press onto the bottom of the foil-lined and greased baking dish. Bake for about twenty minutes.

Mix the sugar, flour and salt for the lemon layer in a bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until combined. Stir in about 1/2 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice. After the crust has been removed from the oven and allowed to cool for a few minutes, spread the cranberry layer evenly over the top, then carefully pour the lemon mixture over the dish to maintain separate layers.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for about another twenty minutes, until the filling has set. Allow to cool on a wire rack, then chill in the refrigerator for two hours. Cut into squares, dusting with confectioners' sugar immediately before serving.



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