I like to have a cup of coffee after lunch.
Call it the afternoon slump. Call it an addiction. Call it working full-time, raising kids full-time, being a wife full-time, and trying to keep my sanity full-time. Regardless of what you call it, I need my coffee.
And I usually like to have something from the dessert category to go with it.
(So maybe the whole cup of coffee thing is really about having dessert…)
And for my afternoon dessert, I prefer something that isn’t over.the.top sweet or chocolately, and this Cranberry Peanut Bars Recipe is perfect.
It’s almost like the non-dessert eater’s dessert.
These Cranberry Peanut Bars have a low sugar content and are more like a shortbread bar with peanuts and cream cheese than a traditional “bar”. It’s a perfect “morning” bar for bringing to potlucks, coffee dates, brunches, etc. because it has a little bit of everything…tart, creamy, salty, and sweet.
Cranberry Peanut Bars Recipe
This Cranberry Peanut Bars recipe is a great mix of sweet, tart, creamy, and salty and is AWESOME with a cup of coffee. It’s the perfect fall recipe and is perfect for morning gatherings, brunches, etc.
Recipe Yields: One 8×8 Pan (only you know how big you cut the bars).
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (note: natural peanut butter doesn’t work)
1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
6 oz of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup chunky peanut butter (note: natural peanut butter doesn’t work)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, place cranberries and pour boiling water on top. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain.
3. Using a large mixing bowl and mixer, mix butter and 1/2 cup of peanut butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and mix till well combined. Change mixer to low speed and add flour till mixture becomes crumbly. Stir in peanuts and cranberries. Reserve one cup and set aside. Place remainder of mixture in the bottom of baking pan and press lightly to form a crust. Bake for 12 minutes or until is set, but not brown.
4. While crust is baking. Using a medium bowl with mixer, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar until smooth. Add egg, 2/3 cup peanut butter and lemon juice and mix until well combined.
5. Take crust out of oven and while still hot, spread cream cheese mixture evenly. Sprinkle reserved crust mixture over top and press lightly into filling.
If you love peanuts, there is nothing wrong with chopping up more peanuts and adding them to the top crumb layer.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is light brown and edges are puffed. Cool completely on wire rack.
This recipe gets BETTER the longer you let it cool and sit, so it fine to make the day ahead or the night before.
Love Peanuts and Peanut Butter? Make sure to try out this wonderful Peanut Butter Quick Bread Recipe.
LOVE this recipe? Make sure to check out all of our tried and true recipes in the Redefined Mom Recipe Index.