Cranberry Curd and Hazelnut Shortbread Bars are perfect for the holidays! These shortbread bars layer sweet and tangy cranberry curd with a hazelnut shortbread for a simple recipe perfect for a cookie exchange, or simply for enjoying the season with a cup of hot coffee or tea!
Line an 8"x8" square cake or brownie pan with cooking spray and parchment paper. Set aside.
Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Beat the butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and creamy with a hand mixer or using a stand mixer. Stir in the flour, followed by the hazelnuts until it comes together. The dough is ready when it is a crumbly texture that comes together when pressed with your fingertips.
Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumbly dough and set aside for the topping. Scatter the remaining dough into the baking pan, pressing very lightly with your hands until the surface is covered evenly, with no gaping holes. Refrigerate the pan and reserved dough for at least an hour or overnight until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack positioned in the center of the oven.
Spread the cranberry curd over the chilled shortbread dough in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining dough over the cranberry curd, crumbling the dough with your fingertips if the dough has chilled into large chunks. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons crushed hazelnuts to garnish, filling in the gaps that aren’t covered by the crumbled dough.
Bake the bars for about 35 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour or until ready to serve. Slice and serve. Store any remaining bars in the refrigerator.
Shortbread crust adapted from Art Smith's Pecan Shortbread Cookies, Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family. Method adapted from Raspberry Shortbread Bars, Food & Wine.
CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD BAR TIPS
Make ahead: This shortbread bar recipe is really quite simple to put together, and the beauty of it is that the components can be made ahead of time.
If you are making my cranberry curd, I recommend making this at least a day in advance to really allow the curd to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator.
The shortbread dough can also be made 1-2 days in advance, in fact, chilling the dough overnight is ideal! You can also wrap the prepped dough in the pan and freeze until ready to use.
Give it time to chill: Once the bars are made, allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before slicing. For perfect slices, I prefer to chill it for at least three hours before slicing.
Portions: This makes 16 small bars, or 9 generously portioned bars.
Storage: Store the bars in the refrigerator until ready to serve.