Tart cranberries combine with a lovely tart lemon and sweet coconut filling, all on top of a delicious shortbread base. Great for family enjoyment or holiday sharing.
Why you’ll love these cranberry lemon squares
Cranberry and lemon is always a winning flavour combination and these delicious cranberry lemon squares combine them beautifully.
Sweetened coconut is added to the cranberry and lemon, to balance the tart with a bit of sweet. The coconut also floats to the top, so it toasts up nicely as it bakes, for wonderful toasted coconut flavour.
These cranberry lemon bars also have just the perfect balance between sweet and tart.
You’ll love the easy, no-cook filling and that these squares set up well, so they cut easily and neatly. Perfect for family enjoyment or holiday entertaining.
Lemon Juice – you will need 1 large or 2 small lemons to produce the needed lemon juice for this recipe. I think fresh lemon juice is always best, but if you only have bottled lemon juice on hand, it will work here, as well.
Cranberries – you can start with either fresh or frozen cranberries here. As we need to chop the cranberries, the frozen cranberries will need to be thawed at least enough to slice them. I measure the cranberries before chopping.
I haven’t tested this recipe with dried cranberries. While I suspect it would work, the extra sweetness of the dried cranberries might require a reduction in the added sugar in the filling.
Coconut – I use sweetened shredded coconut for these squares. You could use unsweetened, though you may find the overall bite with the tart lemon and cranberries and no sweetness from the coconut, a little lacking in sweetness.
Step 1: Line a baking pan with parchment paper (8×8-inch shown here). Prepare the shortbread base, press into the prepared pan and bake until set.
Step 2: Chop the cranberries (fresh or thawed frozen cranberries). Mix up the lemon filling, then fold in the chopped cranberries.
Step 3: Pour the filling over the base and return to the oven to bake until set.
- You can chop the cranberries as roughly or as finely as you like. I go the roughly chopped route, as I like larger pieces of cranberry.
- Be sure to bake the squares until the filling is set right to the centre of the pan. Baking time may vary from oven to oven and pan to pan. The coconut topping should be lightly golden.
- A parchment-lined pan is a must for these squares, to be able to remove the from the pan easily. I like to refrigerate them in the pan after they have cooled and before slicing, for easiest and neatest slices.
- You can double the recipe and bake in a 9×13-inch pan, if you’re feeding a crowd. The baking time should be similar for the 9×13-inch pan, though it may need a few extra minutes to set right to the centre.
Storage and Freezing
I refrigerate these squares in an airtight container, where they will be good for 4 days or more.
For longer storage, these will freeze well up to 2 months.
Get the Recipe: Cranberry Lemon Coconut Squares
- 3/4 cup (90 g) all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (32 g) icing/confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 cup (76 g) salted butter, cold, cut into 5 or 6 pieces (or unsalted butter, with a pinch of salt added)
Cranberry Lemon Filling:
- 6 Tablespoons (45 g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon (1/8 teaspoon) fine salt
- 1 large (1 large) egg
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (57 ml) lemon juice, from about 1 large lemon or bottled lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (170 ml) sweetened, shredded coconut
- 1 cup (227 ml28) cranberries, chopped, fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
For garnish before serving:
- Additional icing/confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting the sides of the parchment extend past the edges of the pan to use as handles later to remove from the pan. (if doubling recipe, use a 9x13-inch pan.) If pan is glass, reduce oven temperatures by 25 degrees F. Set aside.
- Make the base: Whisk together the flour and icing sugar. Add the cold butter pieces and using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut or rub the butter into the flour until you have a coarse crumb mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes until set. Remove from oven and set aside.
- REDUCE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 325F.
- While the crust bakes, make the filling: Chop the cranberries. (You can chop as coarsely or as finely as you like). Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, Whisk the egg first, then whisk in the sugar, then the lemon juice. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture until filling is smooth. Stir in the coconut, then gently fold in the chopped cranberries. Pour the cranberry mixture over the pre-baked base.
- Bake in 325F for 30-35 minutes (for 8x8-inch pan) or 35-45 minutes for a 9x13-inch pan, or until top is lightly golden and filling is set right to the centre of the pan.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely in the pan. For easiest cutting into squares, cover the pan and refrigerate until well chilled (or pop into the freezer for a bit). Remove from pan by lifting out with the parchment "handles" onto a cutting board, then cut into 2x2-inch squares.
- Store in the refrigerator for 4 days or more or freeze up to 2 months, for longer storage.