These Cranberry Cheesecake Dream Bars with an Almond Shortbread Crust are amazing. A buttery almond crust topped with a creamy no-bake vanilla cheesecake layer. And all crowned by a festively tart cranberry topping. So lovely. So seasonal. And, great for the holidays.
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Cream the butter and sugar
When I was a kid baking recipes all started with, “cream the butter and sugar”, which, I think many bakers still understand that to mean, “mix the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy”.
But somewhere along the way the wording changed.
I also think how we “cream the butter and sugar” changed. My mom always handed me a big bowl with the butter and sugar in it, and a nice sturdy fork. It was my job to mix those bad boys together until they were light and fluffy.
Sure, no one had a fancy stand mixer in those days. We did, however, have a hand-held mixer, but we never used it for simply mixing the butter and sugar together.
How to cream the butter and sugar
Here we are many years later, and I still prefer to cream the butter and sugar with a nice sturdy fork in a big ol’ bowl.
Maybe I’m old-fashioned. I just like to get to know my food. And I like the little bit of exercise/arm workout that I get from doing it by hand.
But, if you don’t care to do it by hand, that’s just fine too.
I know some people who love to cook, but have arthritis in their hands, so it hurts too much to do it by hand. The stand mixer is perfect for them.
Or, maybe you just like the speed and quickness that the power tools give.
And, I’d like to remind everyone that most cookie recipes are just like this one – use the tool you prefer for this type of mixing.
A stand mixer, a hand-held mixer, a sturdy fork – they’re all good for almost all cookie recipes.
More cranberry recipes
You’ll also want to check out my recipes for Cranberry Rosemary Cornbread, Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad, and Roasted Cranberry Sauce.
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Cranberry Cheesecake Dream Bars
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
Make the crust
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9×9-inch baking pan, and set aside. Using a sturdy fork, a stand-mixer, or a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar until very fluffy and well blended. Gradually stir in the almond flour, flour, and salt until well combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the buttered 9×9 dish, trying to get it as level as possible. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool completely.½ cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup powdered sugar, 1 ½ cups almond flour, ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Make the cranberry layer
- Place cranberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan, and cook over medium heat until cranberries have softened and popped, and mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.2 cups fresh cranberries, ¼ cup granulated sugar, ¼ cup water
Make the Cheesecake layer
- In a large bowl, using an electric hand held mixer or an electric stand mixer, mix the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sour cream and cream, and continue to mix until the mixture is thickened about, 4-5 minutes. Spread the cheesecake mixture over the top of the completely cooled crust, use an offset spatula to help smooth it out.8 ounces cream cheese, ½ cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ cup sour cream, 1/3 cup cold heavy cream
- Gently spoon the cranberries over the top of the cheesecake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to overnight (if you can wait that long!).
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
I love, love, love cranberries and almonds together! I need to make this real soon!
Cranberries, cheesecake, almonds, shortbread…these are a few of my favorite things!
These look and sound so delicious – such great flavors.
Julie is Hostess At Heart
This is such a pretty dessert and it sounds delicious. I’m a bit spoiled and would use my mixer though.
Christie Campbell (@AKitchenHoor)
They definitely look like a dream to me!!
I think it’s best to learn the old fashioned way before learning the short cuts. That’s a great memory! Now that dessert looks amazing! I bet the cranberry balances the sweet of the cheesecake. It looks just divine!
That fresh cranberry sauce over those layers sounds amazing! Ohhh, I’m drooling over this one! Printing the recipe now, so I can make this!