Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars

Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars that are bursting with tangy lemon and sweet cranberry flavour. This is sure to be everyone’s newest favourite holiday dessert!

gluten free cranberry lemon bars stacked on white plate

Being a Pastry Chef I like most sweet treats, but I have a terrible weakness for lemon bars. The silky citrus custard poured gracefully on a buttery short bread cookie base, then dusted with a generous coating of powdered sugar. So that’s why this holiday season I wanted to make this elegant dessert but put a little festive spin on it. By taking this classic lemon bar and adding a cranberry twist we instantly have a dessert that belongs on any (gluten-free or not) holiday table.

Why you need this Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bar recipe in your life:

  • These Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars are a welcome and refreshing break after all the usual holiday cookies and cakes.
  • You can serve them as bite sized treats or cut them into larger portions and serve them plated with a generous dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted, sliced almonds on top.
  • You only need 7 ingredients to make all 3 layers of this delicious recipe!
Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars sliced on wooden cutting board

Ingredients

list of the ingredients needed to make these Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars:

  1. Unsalted Butter
  2. Eggs
  3. Granulated Sugar
  4. Fresh Lemons 
  5. Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  6. Corn Starch
  7. Gluten-Free Flour Blend. I used my All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend. The recipe for the blend can be found here. In a pinch I will often use Cup4Cup gluten free flour blend.  If you are new to gluten free baking or are unfamiliar with the difference variations of Gluten Free Flour Blends, check out this article I wrote for Food Bloggers of Canada, where I explain how to find the right Gluten Free Flour for you. 
gluten free cranberry lemon bars stacked on white plate

How to make these Gluten Free Cranberry Lemon Bars:

Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F degrees. Grease and foil line a 9 x 9 baking tin making sure to leave some overhang at the sides.

In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together the gluten-free flour, sugar, salt and melted butter until well combined and a soft cookie dough forms.

Using the back of your hand, press the dough into the bottom of the baking pan making sure to evenly distribute the dough.  Bake the base for 12-15 minutes or just until the edges are starting to turn golden.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the fillings.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cranberry sauce and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the cranberry mixture over the cooled base and use the back of a spoon to create a smooth, even layer.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth. Sift in the gluten-free flour and corn starch and whisk until fully incorporated.

Pour the lemon mixture over the back of the spoon so it gently covers the cranberry layer. This helps to ensure we have a distinction between the cranberry and lemon layers.

Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown and the centre is no longer jiggly. Allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature. Transfer the bars to the fridge and allow to set for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing.

Gluten Free Cranberry Lemon Bars sliced on wooden cutting board

Pastry Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • To achieve clean, neat squares but dipping your knife in hot water or using a blow torch between each slice. Remember to clean the knife between each slice as well.
  • You can freeze the Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars individually by placing the sliced bars on s sheet pan in the freezer for 1-2 hours. The pull them out and wrap in cling-film. 
  • The powdered sugar will start to melt into the bars due to the condensation from the lemon curd. If you are making these ahead of time make sure to add the dusting on powdered sugar right before serving.
  • If you need to stack the bars, make sure to place a sheet of parchment in-between the layers to avoid them sticking.

How to Store Gluten Free Cranberry Lemon Bars:

Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars can be store at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated for up to 7 days. Bars can be frozen (without powdered sugar topping) for up to 3 months. 

Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars

Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars that are bursting with tangy lemon and sweet cranberry flavour. This is sure to be everyone’s newest favourite holiday dessert!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Resting/Chill Time2 hrs
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Dessert
Servings: 16 Squares
Author: Kira McMullan

Ingredients

Cookie Base

  • 210 g Gluten-Free Flour Blend *Kira's AP Flour Blend recipe available on the blog
  • 75 g Granulated Sugar
  • 170 g Unsalted Butter (melted) *1 1/2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

Cranberry Filing

  • 350 ml Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 200 g Granulated Sugar
  • 115 ml Lemon Juice (fresh)
  • 25 g Gluten Free Flour Blend
  • 1 tbsp Corn Starch

Instructions

Cookie Base

  • Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F degrees. Grease and foil line a  9”x 9” baking tin making sure to leave some overhang at the sides. Set pan aside.
    In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together the gluten-free flour, sugar, salt and melted butter until well combined and a soft cookie dough forms.
    Using the back of your hand, press the dough into the bottom of the baking pan making sure to evenly distribute the dough.  Bake the base for 10-15 minutes or just until the edges are starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool while you prepare the fillings.

Cranberry Filling

  • In a medium bowl, whisk the cranberry sauce and lemon juice until smooth. Spread the cranberry mixture over the cooled base and use the back of a spoon to create a smooth, even layer.

Lemon Curd Filling

  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest until smooth. Sift in the gluten-free flour and corn starch and whisk until fully incorporated.
    Pour the lemon mixture over the back of the spoon so it gently covers the cranberry layer. This helps to ensure we have a distinction between the cranberry and lemon layers.
    Bake for approx. 20-25 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown and the centre is no longer jiggly. Allow the bars to cool completely at room temperature. Transfer the bars to the fridge and allow to set for a minimum of 2 hours before slicing.
    Cut into 16 squares and dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
    Gluten-Free Cranberry Lemon Bars can be store at room temperature for 2 days or refrigerated for up to 7 days. Bars can be frozen (without powdered sugar topping) for up to 3 months. 

If you are looking for more super indulgent gluten-free recipes to bake up make sure to try one of these:

DID YOU MAKE ONE OF MY RECIPES? tag me on Instagram at @kiramcmullan and hashtag it #kirainthekitchen



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