Cranberry Magic Cookie Bars

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These decadent mouthwatering cranberry magic cookie bars will give you a foretaste of that cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table. Master this quick and simple recipe for a new delicious way to use cranberries this season.

picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table
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picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table

Thanksgiving is marked in my mind by certain iconic dishes, turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes,  and cranberry sauce. Cranberries have a very tart sharp flavor which pairs well with the other stars of this show. I love making cookie bars since they are the perfect way to combine a variety of ingredients into a magical combination of flavors and textures. This recipe also makes a great holiday gift since the bars look so festive when wrapped with a pretty bow.

I have always been a big cranberry fan but even if you’re not you will find the combination of cranberry, chocolate, coconut, and nuts in these bars a perfect blend. You get tartness from the cranberry, sweetness from the chocolate, and an earthy richness from the nuts.

picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table

How to Make Cranberry Magic Cookie Bars

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Graham cracker crumbs – graham crackers are readily available and already slightly sweet which makes them an ideal base for these cookie bars. I don’t like to use a super sweet cookie for the base since the toppings are sweet too. Make sure you crumble the graham crackers well. I put mine in a plastic bag and beat it with a rolling pin until its bread crumb consistency.
  • Unsalted Butter – we are going to be adding salt to the base so I use unsalted butter to bring the graham cracker crumbs together. The fat in the butter will make the base rich and help it bind together. You want to let the cookie bars cool for at least an hour after they bake so the butter can solidify giving the bars a solid foundation that won’t crumble. 
  • Kosher Salt – you add salt to the base to season the butter and bring out its natural rich flavor. I use fine grain sea salt. 
  • Condensed milk – condensed milk is cow’s milk that has had the water removed and sugar added. I use condensed milk here because it helps bind everything together in this cookie bar. It is thick and sticky so won’t spread well. Make sure you pour it well over the crust, you won’t be able to go back later and spread it without disturbing the graham cracker crust. 
  • Dried cranberries – cranberries have a naturally sweet and tart flavor that is a lovely contrast to the sweetness of these cookie bars. I love to use them in the fall too since they are in season. Always use dried cranberries for this recipe. 
  • Walnuts – walnuts are strong and bitter in flavor which compliments the cranberries and contrasts the sweetness to create a complex and satisfying bite. 
  • Shredded sweetened coconut – coconut adds a lovely texture as well as sweetness to these bars, make sure you use sweetened coconut. 
  • White chocolate chips – white chocolate adds a nice color and a super sweetness that the nuts and cranberries need to balance the flavors. 
  • Milk chocolate chips – I use semi- sweetened chocolate for their sweetness, creaminess, and slightly bitter flavor. You can substitute dark chocolate chips for a slightly less sweet and more bitter cookie bar. 

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following method:

  • Step 1 – Spray a 9×13” baking pan with cooking spray and set it aside. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and ¼ tsp of the salt until well combined then pour it into the baking pan, spread it evenly, and press it firmly to create your cookie bar base. 
  • Step 2 – Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the base, you won’t be able to spread it with a spoon after it is poured without disrupting the graham cracker base so make sure you pour it evenly. 
  • Step 3 – Combine the cranberries, walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips, and ¼ tsp of the salt in a bowl then sprinkle it evenly over the condensed milk. 
  • Step 4 – Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Allow the cookie bars to cool completely for at least an hour before you cut and eat them. If they aren’t cooled completely they will crumble. 
  • Step 5 – Enjoy!
picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Magic Cranberry Bars:

Check out these ticks and tricks for making these cookie bars and variations.

Mix up the nuts or omit. You can use pecans, pistachios, or any other nuts in place of the walnuts if you want to make it more festive. If you need to make the bars nut free, replace the nuts with another ? cup of cranberries, coconut and chocolate chips. You want to have four cups of topping total. 
Cut with a cutter or into shapes. For clean cuts or designs, after the bars are totally cooled, use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut the bars. My favorite cutters are these ones. You can also cut them into shapes if you prefer.

picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table

FAQs

Can I omit the coconut?

If you prefer you can leave the coconut out, make sure you substitute with more nuts or cranberries. You want to have 4 cups total of toppings for the cookie bars.

What’s the best way to keep leftovers?

These cookie bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table

More Delicious Cookies

If you love these bars, you will also love, Pumpkin Magic Bars, Peppermint Cheesecake Bars, Easy Lemon Bars, Best Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce, Easy Cranberry Sangria, Twix Cookies.

Check out all our amazing cookie recipes here!

picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table

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picture of sliced cranberry cookie bars with chocolate chips white chocolate, nuts, and butterscotch on a table
Print

Magic Cranberry Cookie Bars

These decadent mouthwatering cranberry magic cookie bars will give you a foretaste of that cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table. Master this quick and simple recipe for a new delicious way to use cranberries this season.
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cranberry bars, cranberry chocolate recipes, cranberry coconut bars, cranberry cookies bar, cranberry desserts, dried cranberry bars, recipes with dried cranberries, white chocolate cranberry bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 15 pieces
Calories 261kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
  • 1 14 ounce can condensed milk
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 9×13” baking pan with cooking spray and set  aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter and ¼ teaspoon of salt until well combined. Turn the mixture out into the prepared baking pan and spread out evenly to create the base. Use your hand or a flat bottoms glass to frimley press the base into the pan. 
  • Slowly drizzle the can of condensed milk evenly over the graham cracker base. Do not try to use a spoon or anything else to spread the condensed milk. 
  • Add the dried cranberries, walnuts, coconut, chocolate chips and remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt to a medium bowl and mix to combine. Sprinkle the mixture over the condensed milk in an even layer.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow the cookie bars to set in the pan for at least an hour before cutting and serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 123mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 20g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style. Courtney writes the popular creative lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs- a site devoted to delicious everyday recipes, home decor, crafts, DIY inspiration, and photography tips to help make your every day extraordinary.

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4 Comments

  1. jojo says:

    I am excited to find this recipe. I am changing it even before I make it the first time…substituting butterscotch chips for chocolate chips…I will keep you posted with a follow up as to how mouth watering delicious they are.

    Regarding the cooking spray…can parchment paper be used instead of cooking spray?
    Sincerely,
    jojo

    1. Katherine says:

      Yes parchment paper should work!

  2. Kathleen Osborne says:

    can the coconut be left out?

    1. Katherine says:

      Absolutely, you can add some of the other ingredient to replace it or leave it out entirely.