Cranberry Almond Streusel Bars

From China Beach Retreat in Ilwaco, Washington

One of Innkeeper Laurie Anderson's favorite recipes, this Cranberry Almond Streusel Bar recipe has everything you could want in a bar - the perfect ratio of topping to shortbread crust and a delicious slightly tart, sweet flavor.


Shortbread Crust:

  • 9 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine salt
  • 1 ¾ pounds cold unsalted butter plus 4 Tablespoons

Streusel Topping:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¾ pound cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 cups sliced almonds (about 12 ounces)

Cranberry Filling:

  • 4 ½ pounds fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 5 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons packed finely grated orange zest (from about 6 oranges)
  • 1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon solid white shortening
  • 3 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey


For the shortbread: Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a full sheet pan with parchment. Place the measured flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse briefly to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse to break up the butter, about 10 (1-second) pulses. Process until large clumps of dough form, about 30 to 45 seconds. Alternately, use an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking pan and, using the base of a measuring cup or a glass, press it evenly into the pan (dip the cup or glass in flour if it starts to stick to the dough). Prick the dough all over with a fork. Bake until the crust is fully set and just starting to brown on the edges, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the streusel and filling.

For the Streusel: Whisk the flour, sugars, and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Add the butter and, using your fingers, squeeze the flour mixture and butter together until they form large clumps and all of the flour is totally incorporated into the butter, about 5 minutes. (Make sure there are no dusty bits at the bottom of the bowl.) Add the almonds and use your fingers to evenly incorporate. Break the large clumps into irregularly shaped pieces about the size of kidney beans. Cover and place in the refrigerator. For the filling: Place the cranberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the cranberries are starting to fall apart and the liquid has become thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the zest and almond flavoring. To finish: When the shortbread is done, remove the pan to a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Pour the filling over the hot shortbread and spread it into an even layer. Evenly sprinkle the streusel over the top and gently press it into the filling. Bake until the filling is bubbling and the streusel is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for 30 minutes. To cut the slab into bars, run a paring knife along the edges of the pan. Let it cool completely, about 30 minutes more. Cut the slab into individual squares of the desired size.

For the Chocolate Glaze: Combine all ingredients in small heavy saucepan. Warm over lowest heat, stirring frequently until completely melted and fluid. Set aside to cool just slightly. On 1 ½” square bars pipe glaze and dribble on surface to form diagonal lines. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until chocolate sets.

Filed in: Desserts