Cranberry Lime Bars
Say goodbye to toned-down lime bars – these cranberry lime bars pack a serious sweet-tart citrusy punch! With a cranberry shortbread crust and a zesty lime filling, they’re delicious year round, but perfectly festive for Christmas, too!
I really wanted to share these cranberry lime bars with you at the beginning of the week, so you’d have time to make them for Christmas.
But then my toddler was sick. And I was sick. And I had to make all our holiday cards, which I was unable to do last week because of said sick toddler. Then there’s my actual full time job in the lab, and the gym, and… now it’s Friday, two days before Christmas.
But then I remembered that the day before Thanksgiving, I had the most unique visitors to my blog ever in a single day. The day before Thanksgiving, and thousands of you were still searching for food ideas. Fellow procrastinators! My people! Welcome – this is what you should make to add to your Christmas desserts.
Not a procrastinator? Not a problem. These cranberry lime bars are way too good to save up for once a year. Make them next week, or next month, or in the middle of summer. A zesty sweet-tart lime bar while sitting by the pool sipping lemonade? Yes, please!
These cranberry lime bars pack a serious lime punch. I love bold, bright flavors, and these definitely reflect that. If I’m eating a lime bar, I want to it to taste like lime (novel idea, really). So many citrus desserts are tooth-meltingly sweet with just a tiny hint of lemon or lime – not these!
I was a little nervous that I went overboard, but every single person who tried this at our holiday party (or the leftovers I brought to work) commented on how much they loved the bumped up lime flavor. Lime lovers unite!
These start with a buttery, soft shortbread crust, studded with flecks of cranberries. The cranberry flavor pairs so nicely with lime and adds a perfect pop of red, beautiful year round or especially fitting for the holidays. Par bake your crust for a few minutes first – we want it to be firm enough to hold our lime filling!
The filling for these lime bars is pretty similar to your typical lemon bar, except using lime (obviously!) – and a whole lot more. More lime juice, more lime zest – MOAR LIME!
If you’ve baked with lime before, you probably know that lime desserts turn out more yellow than green. I added two drops of green food coloring to the filling to counteract this – both because I wanted the holiday-appropriate green and red pairing, but also because I wanted to make it very clear that these are lime and not lemon.
Feel free to omit if you are not into food coloring; just know that they will look pale yellow without (and even more yellow should you use key lime juice/zest instead!).
Figuring out when these are done is the hardest part of this not-hard-at-all dessert. Give the pan a little jiggle. Is it soft, but solid? Top starting to look a little spongey? Congrats, your cranberry lime bars are done!
Remove the bars from the oven, cool to room temperature, and then pop into the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing. Dust with a layer of confectioners sugar and, to make them extra fancy, top with a few sugared cranberries. The perfect year-round dessert for my fellow citrus lovers!
Cranberry Lime Bars
Say goodbye to toned-down lime bars – these cranberry lime bars pack a serious sweet-tart citrusy punch!
For the crust:
- 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen (thaw and pat dry for frozen)
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
For the filling:
- 6 eggs
- 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup flour
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 tablespoons lime zest
- 1-2 drops green food coloring (optional)
For topping (optional):
- 1/4 cup confectionars sugar
- sugared cranberries
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a 9×9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, then lightly grease.
- Add the cranberries to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times, until cranberries are chopped into small pieces. Add the flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse in short, one second bursts, until the mixture resembles coarse sand. (Alternatively: chop cranberries with a knife, whisk together following ingredients, and cut butter into the dough with two knives.)
- Spread the shortbread crust into the prepared pan, pressing the crumbly dough down with a heavy glass, until dough forms an even layer across the pan. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove from the oven.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, lime juice, flour, sugar, lime zest, baking powder, and lime zest. Add food coloring if desired. Pour the filling over the crust.
- Return the baking pan into the oven and bake until the filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or overnight, until bars are set.
- Cut bars into squares and top with additional confectioners sugar and sugared cranberries.
Recipe adapted from AllRecipes.