Twelve Days of Holiday Treats: Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Cross section of Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake BarsWelcome to Day 2 of

The Twelve Days of Holiday Treats!

Once again, this year, from December 1-12th I’ll post a new holiday treat recipe every day – inspiration for your holiday entertaining!

The recipes I’m sharing are small batch (perfect for this year of smaller gatherings – each recipe makes 1-dozen) that are simple to prepare and that use everyday ingredients and equipment  so hopefully you’ll be able to whip up any of these on a whim.

Today’s treat is inspired by one of my online baking class students! We were making the Speculoos Swirl Cheesecake Bars a few weeks ago and they couldn’t find cookie butter to swirl into the top. I suggested a tart jam and it worked really well against the gingerbready base and the not-too-sweet cheesecake topping and they were thrilled.

A couple of days later, I found myself with extra cranberry sauce, leftover from the Triple Layer Parsnip and Cranberry Cake and wondered if that might work in a cheesecake topping too. Since cranberry sauce typically has large pieces of fruit, it doesn’t work so well as a swirl but it DOES work when you fold it into the cheesecake topping just before you pour it over the base.

Top view of Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake BarsBonus? It makes for a lovely pink-hued cheesecake studded with pops of red fruit which it really pretty for a holiday dessert (or, anytime!).

This is such an easy dessert (no water bath needed for baking the cheesecake) and it looks so cheery – I can’t think of a more happy-making dessert…

Yield: 12

Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Cross section of Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Easy cranberry swirl cheesecake bars for the holidays.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time (base) 10 minutes
Cook Time (filling) 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


For the base:

  • 1/2 cup (75g) all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 28g (2 tablespoons/) cold unsalted butter, cubed 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

For the filling:

  • 125g brick style cream cheese, at room temperature (this is half a brick package)
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • 1 large egg white (you can use the white you didn’t use in the base)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce


Make the base

    1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
    2. Grease and line an 8 x 4-inch loaf tin with parchment paper, making sure you have some overhang (this will help you lift the cheesecake out when it’s baked).
    3. Pulse the flour, baking soda and butter in a food processor (I use a mini food processor for this) until combined.
    4. Add the brown and granulated sugar, egg yolk and vanilla and pulse until the mixture starts to clump together around the sides of the bowl.
    5. Press the mixture into the prepared baking tin - use your fingertips, the bottom of a glass or a wide flat spatula to press the mixture in as tightly as possible.
    6. Bake for 10 minutes. The base will look slightly puffy and might not look completely cooked at this stage but that’s ok. 
    7. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the filling.
    8. Lower the heat to 325˚F.

    Make the cheesecake filling:

    1. Using handheld electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until soft and creamy.
    2. Add the icing sugar and mix until combined.
    3. Add the egg white and vanilla and and mix until completely combined.
    4. Add the yoghurt and fold gently with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined.
    5. Fold in the cranberry sauce very gently.

    Bake the cheesecake:

    1. Make sure your oven is at 325˚F.
    2. Pour the cheesecake filling over the cookie base.
    3. Bake your cheesecake bars for 30 - 35 minutes until the filling is just set. It might still be a little jiggly on top in the very centre.
    4. Prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and allow the cheesecake to cool slightly for about 30 minutes.
    5. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack to room temperature. Slice into squares with a long, sharp knife.
    6. To store: Place squares in an airtight container in the fridge.

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did you make this recipe?

please leave a comment or review on the blog or share a photo and tag me on Instagram @eatlivtravwrite !

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars on a black serving boardStay tuned to see what tomorrow brings and in the meantime…

Check out the rest of the 12 Days of Holiday Treats:

Day 1: Rice Krispie Wreaths

Day 2: Cranberry Cheesecake Bars

Day 3: Peppermint Bark

Day 4: Orangettes

Day 5: Rocky Road Chocolate Crackle Slice

Day 6: Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Day 8: Mendiants

Day 9: Chewy Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookies

Day 10: Apricot, Coconut and Cranberry “truffles”

Day 11: Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Brownies

Day 12: Peppermint Hot Chocolate


Check out last year’s 12 Days of Holiday Cookies:

Day 1: Easy Three Ingredient Shortbread

Day 2: Jam Drops

Day 3: Chocolate Caramel Slice

Day 4: Melting Moments

Day 5: White Christmas

Day 6: Langues de Chat

Day 7: Chocolate Coconut Slice

Day 8: Cornflake Biscuits

Day 9: Rocky Road

Day 10: Honey Joys

Day 11: Rum Ball Truffles

Day 12: Giant Florentine Cookie (to share)


Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you). Thank you in advance!


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