Sour Cream Cranberry Bars with Lemon Crunch

Up close shot of a sour cream cranberry bar on a white plate.

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars with Lemon Crunch – an easy dessert recipe for the holidays – yay! These dessert bars  sport a creamy cranberry filling with a crunchy lemon crumble over the top – perfectly festive on any holiday table.

Sour cream cranberry bar with lemon cookie crunch on top. Fresh cranberries on plate as garnish.

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Sour Cream Cranberry Bars with Lemon Crunch. These cranberry squares are one of my favorite cranberry recipes. Filled with cream cheese filling, this dessert is like a cross between a bar cookie and a crisp or a crumble – delicious with a cup of hot coffee.

This recipe combines cranberries and sour cream between two layers of a buttery oatmeal base and a crunchy lemon topping – talk about cranberry bliss! I love how quickly this recipe comes together and it also freezes nicely, too.  These dessert bars store well and can be refrigerated for up to a week. They are best served at room temperature.

What Ingredients are Needed to Make this Sour Cream Cranberry Bar Recipe? 

  • Butter, brown sugar, quick oats, flour

These are the ingredients that will come together to make both the buttery oatmeal crust and the topping for these dessert bars.

  • Bite-Size Lemon Cookies 

This recipe features Prairy Bite-Size Lemon Cookies in this recipe, and just be warned that they are extremely addictive. I can munch down an entire bag without even realizing it!

  • Sour cream, granulated sugar, dried cranberries, fresh cranberries, lemon zest, lemon juice, eggs, and flour

These ingredients are combined to make the sour cream/cranberry filling. The sugar and sour cream provide the “creaminess” while the cranberries and lemon add color and tartness.  The eggs and flour work as a binder to hold the whole mixture together.

Two cranberry bars with lemon cookie crunch on top, sitting on a white plate with fresh cranberries on the plate as garnish.

Easy and Helpful Tips for Making Sour Cream Cranberry Bars 

  • If I can’t find bite-size lemon sugar cookies, what can I substitute? 

I’d recommend substituting a crispy lemon cookie that you can crush to use in the oatmeal topping, and also to crumble and sprinkle over the top once the bars.  This will work absolutely fine – same lemon flavor, just in bit of a different form.

  • Why does this recipe say to line the baking dish with foil before pressing in the oatmeal mixture to make the base? 

So glad you asked! The purpose of this step is purely to make it easier to cut the bars into even-sized squares when you are ready to serve them.  By lifting the foil sling of bars out of the baking dish after they’ve baked and cooled, this makes the task of cutting them much easier since the edge of the pan is no longer in the way.

  • Is the best way to cut bar cookies with a knife?

Lots of people like to use a knife to cut bar cookies, but I actually prefer using a bench scraper to cut my bar cookies – I find this method a whole lot easier. Place the foil sling of bars onto a cutting board before using either a knife or a bench scraper to cut them.

  • Can I freeze these bar cookies?

Yep! You can freeze these bars first and bake them fresh later, or you bake them first and once they are cooled and cut, the bars can be packaged between sheet of parchment or wax paper in an air-tight container and placed into the freezer. If baking the bars from fresh after freezing them, let then thaw slightly, then bake, uncovered, in a preheated 325 degree F. oven for 35-40 minutes, or until set at the center.

Other Sweet Treat Recipes to Enjoy – 

 

Printable Directions for Making Sour Cream Cranberry Bars with Lemon Crunch

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars with Lemon Crunch

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars with Lemon Crunch - an easy dessert recipe for the holidays - yay! These dessert bars  sport a creamy cranberry filling with a crunchy lemon crumble over the top - perfectly festive on any holiday table.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword bar cookies, cranberry, dessert bars, lemon zest
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 16 bars

Ingredients

Crust and Topping

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup bite-size lemon cookies, crushed (I love to use Prairy Lemon Sugar Cookies)
  • 1 cup bite-size lemon cookies, whole (these are added as a topping after the bars are baked)

Filling

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the oats and flour, mixing again until well combined.

  3. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the prepared oat mixture to use for the topping. Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with foil, then press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake the bars, uncovered, on the center rack of the preheated oven for 12 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the sugar, sour cream, cranberries, egg, flour, lemon zest, and lemon juice; spread this mixture over the par-baked crust.

  5. Combine the 1 1/2 cups of the reserved oat topping with the crushed lemon cookies; evenly spread this mixture over the cranberry/sour cream layer, then sprinkle the whole lemon sugar cookies over the top. Bake, uncovered, for an additional 23-26 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.

  6. Remove the bars from the oven. Cool completely, then lift the foil sling of bars from the baking dish to a cutting board, slicing into bars. Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Bars are best served at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

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Chef Alli

Please Note: This recipe was happily shared on The Country Cook’s Weekend Potluck and Southern Bite’s Meal Plan Monday!

This is a sponsored recipe post, paid for by From the Land of Kansas, the state trademark program that promotes and celebrates agricultural experiences and products that are grown, raised or produced in Kansas. Visit their website for more information! Our featured guest and member business for this televised segment on Good Morning KAKEland is Aaron Gaeddert of Prairy Market, Newton, KS.  All opinions expressed are very much my own.

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

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